Having grown up in the 1960s I became a Beatles fan at a very early age. I’ll never forget when my dad took me to the iconic Capitol Records building in LA when I was all of five-years-old, and I purchased my very first Beatles record, Meet the Beatles. Although there was no shouting and screaming like the teenage girls, I was a Beatles fanatic through my teenage years. So anything Beatles is nostalgia for me, and this latest documentary on one of the Fab Four I caught on Netflix was a trip down memory lane. It was also an opportunity to teach my 17 year-old musical fanatic son about truth and worldview and the implications of ideas. Not to mention the evanescence of life. Many of the people who show up in the documentary (c. 1970) are long dead, John himself, tragically gunned down in front of his apartment on December 8, 1980. My wife asked a great rhetorical question as we talked about that sad event: “Who would kill a Beatle!” Indeed! But that question reveals a stark irony in the heady days of Lennon recording the iconic album Imagine.

This documentary about the recording of the album, and the life of John an Yoko, including the song long since idolized, offered a treasure trove of opportunities to teach my son of the utter vacuousness of life without Jesus, and life lived in God’s created though fallen world. Regarding the latter, I also consider it my responsibility to persuade our children of the rightness and truth of our political and economic convictions, and this documentary was a great opportunity teach our son about that as well.

On the mainly secular political and cultural left, the song Imagine is beloved as a profound insight in the nature of reality as everyone should wish it to be. One friend of John in the movie unironically uses the word Utopia for it, as if that were a good thing. The sense of the song, and those who embrace its message, is that if we imagine something, even something impossible, that in itself is profound and virtuous. As is typical of the left, intention is always more important than results; in fact results are often irrelevant, and often the exact opposite of the intention. The song Imagine is the quintessential example of that.

Jude Wanniski wrote a book in the 1970s that paved the way for the Reagan revolution and supply-side economics called The Way the World Works. We might subtitle John’s song: The Way The World Doesn’t, Can’t, and Has Never Worked! In fact, I told my son that the lyrics may be the dumbest in all the long history of lyrics! Everything in it is not only impossible, but the ideas have contributed to untold misery and death for hundreds of millions of people. If you haven’t heard it recently:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

I can’t convey the depth of the foolishness contained in these words in a short blog post, but here are just a few things I pointed out to my son.

  • No heaven, no hell, living only for today, is a perfect recipe selfishness.
  • Countries are necessary to protect the citizens of those countries. A boarderless world is a tyrannical world.
  • If there is nothing to kill or die for, there is nothing worth killing or dying for. Which would be the case if all we are is lucky dirt.
  • Religion, as the Founders of America knew, was a source and motivation for good, specifically the Christian religion. In fact they believed America could only succeed with a vibrant, religious people.
  • Karl Marx argued that possessions (personal property) needed to be abolished, and his followers killed millions upon millions. Israel’s God, on the contrary, said that we should not steal or covet because personal property is a fundamental feature of human existence in a fallen world.
  • Getting rid of greed and hunger would be great, if you could obliterate human nature. You can’t.
  • What in the . . . . world does “sharing all the world” all the world even mean?! it’s gibberish, complete nonsense.

One encouraging thing that comes out in the documentary, which I loved by the way, is that the song and its sentiments are completely Yoko’s and not John’s. Without Yoko in his life John would and could never come up with such idiocy. In all John’s previous work with the Beatles he is if anything a realist, a melancholy existentialist not given to pie in the sky, to say the least. But he’d fallen head over heals in love with Yoko, and she gave his life purpose and meaning being a Beatle could not. She turned him from a disgruntled Yer Blues Beatle, to a Utopian dreamer who tried to imagine a world that could never exist.

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