When it Comes to Politics, What's Love Got to Do with It?

April 15, 2019
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Love might not be all we need, but its lack is surely tearing us apart. That was the point made by Arthur C. Brooks, president of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, during a Wednesday evening discussion with James Bryant Conant University Professor Danielle Allen at the Institute of Politics’ John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

Love’s potency cannot be underestimated, began Brooks, who is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at American Enterprise. Discussing the powerful effect of oxytocin — the “love molecule” — and its potential for treating heroin addiction, he moved on to talk about how love of another sort might be able to treat the toxicity of our current political situation.

“Ninety-three percent of Americans hate how divided we’ve become in this country. It’s a love problem. People have stopped talking to relatives,” said Brooks, whose most recent book is “Love Your Enemies.”

“We have a public policy crisis, but we have to be responsible for it,” he continued. Quoting his late mentor, James Q. Wilson, former Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard, Brooks said, “You really have to remember that public policy never affects people at more than the 5 percent margin of their lives.” When Brooks asked what made up the remainder, Wilson told him, “Mostly just love.”

by Clea Simon

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