Saint Augustine, the preeminent Christian theologian of antiquity, relates in “The Confessions” that in his misspent, narcissistic youth, the author “loved not yet, yet loved to love ... in love with loving ...”
The problem with the doctrine of “universal love” is that if love is the only value worth having and the only emotion worth feeling, then we are indeed obliged to love love itself; and to love the love of love, and the love of love of love, and so forth. This path leads only inward, and it’s rather difficult to have genuinely warm regard for others while being infinitely self-centered — and I dare say, self-righteous.
Every viable ethical philosophy is to a considerable extent idealistic, but pure idealism is practically synonymous with unforgiving perfectionism. In order to love the human race, one must first accept its humanity.