And in the beginning were the Beatles and God said, ‘let there be Lennon,’ and there arose a low whining sound.

John Lennon is the greatest miracle-worker since Maggie Farnley from Huddersfield who taught tadpoles to fly. Actually, Lennon exceeds her as he contrives to be both eighty years old and dead.

If you don’t believe me, just look. It’s there in all the papers: JOHN LENNON AT 80 – singing Imagine in his shroud and either with a peg on his nose or much in need of a nasal spray.

I haven’t space to pay adequate tribute to Lennon’s magnificent oeuvre, so I’ll limit my appreciation to the unlyrical lyrics for which he is most famous. Here they are:

“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…

“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…

“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 live as one.”

It’s hard to do justice to the profound ethics and the sublime aesthetics of this most excellent doggerel, but I’ll try. First perhaps I should point out that it contains more contradictions than a Logical Positivists’ tea party. We are asked to imagine there’s no heaven and no hell.

Well, anyone who is not a cloud-cuckoo fundamentalist knows that heaven and hell are symbols of good and evil. So, remove the picture language of heaven and hell – and thus the realities of good and evil – and at a stroke you abolish all morality and with it all the significant decision-making which we derive from our moral freedom.  But Lennon advertised himself as a great campaigner for freedom. You see what I mean when I mention his contradictions?

The next line is entirely consistent with such nihilism, “Imagine all the people living for today.” No ethical purpose beyond instant gratification. Yes, that’s come true according to Lennon’s hedonistic prescription. We don’t need to imagine that pig philosophy, as Nietzsche called it, for that’s the stench of our culture today.

Just read the papers, turn on the telly or go online and there you will find Lennon’s narcissistic sewer where people live only for today: mindlessness, tawdry entertainments, instant gratification and me-ism – all orchestrated into a “music” that makes you wish you’d been born deaf. It’s Yeats’ “rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching towards Bethlehem to be born.”

We must imagine “there’s” (sic) no countries. What is to take their place – global communism? Mere anarchy loosed upon the world? “Nothing to kill or die for” means – in the real world, as opposed to the world of Lennon’s diseased fantasy – that tyrants and genocidal dictators must not be resisted.

Wouldn’t we hope to have the courage to die to save an innocent child – as many did in the queues for the gas chambers? Of course, we must have no religion. Did Lennon never emerge from his drug-crazed vacuity for long enough to consider the condition of the millions living – and being massacred – by states where religion was officially prohibited: the USSR and Mao’s China, for instance?

George Bernanos said, “Grace is everywhere.” And indeed it is – even towards the end of a nasty little dirge such as Imagine. For here is a great joke, intended or not I can’t say. This man who became a multimillionaire out of the production of malign trash concludes, “Imagine there’s no possessions.”

Does nobody laugh?   

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37 Comments on And in the beginning were the Beatles and God said, ‘let there be Lennon,’ and there arose a low whining sound.

  1. An excellent analysis from Fr Mullen. He and others might enjoy this snippet:

    Barbara Pym to Philip Larkin, 20 October 1968:

    “I hope your students will be reasonably well behaved this year, though that is a lot to hope for. I think John Lennon so repellent-looking now – like a very plain middle-aged Victorian female novelist, with that long hair. I used to like the Beatles once and I still like their songs if I don’t have to look at them.”

    Lennon: the George Eliot de nos jours?

  2. Imagine no possessions. Well, obviously Lennon couldn’t. He owned a Rolls Royce and a mansion. As Sir Roger Scruton once observed, there have been plenty of people without any possessions. They have all been slaves. Dear me, John! Promoting slavery?

  3. Yes, for a while there, after he became famous, Lennon channeled extreme naive idealism.

    And obviously, naive idealism is very appealing to the young and the ignorant of all ages who have never had responsibilities for dealing with Actual Reality.

    And naive idealists are excellent tools for the power-mongers and
    the money-scoopers who occupy positions in all institutions.

    The rest not only is history, it is The Future, which is The Abyss.

    (After the terrible losses of the Great Wars of first-half C20, all but a very, very Few of the good folk have simply pursued the quiet life, as fighting for a Proper Civil Order requires too much sacrifice.)

  4. Calm down, calm down! Yes, Imagine is a shallow dirge, but why waste your time grinding your teeth over it. Yes Lennon was essentially a mixed up politically naïve rock and roller, but lets see you sit down and compose a catalogue of songs that has helped to briefly brighten up the lives of untold millions as they pass through this veil of tears. It’s perfectly possible to have derived a lifetimes pleasure from the music of the Beatles as I have, while also being aware of it’s limitations and those moments when it takes itself too seriously as with the post Beatles “Imagine”, when Poor old John was completely exposed to the influence of his pretentious wife.

    • The Elephant in this particular room, I would suggest is Dylan, a genuinely profound figure who has consistently rejected all attempts by radicals, to this very day, to claim him as one of their own. In fact he is beloved by many Conservatives and there is a ” “Right-Wing Bob” website.

  5. Dear Harry.

    I agree with your point and when Mick Jagger escaped justice and prison from his drug offence conviction due to a howling protest from, useful idiot socialist luvvies and, no doubt, music industry money interests it legitimised drug-taking and teenage rebellion and became an essential tool for Marxists to pose as liberators.

  6. Having read widely on Lennon and his life, my overall impression is that he was a rather unpleasant man who found happiness in the arms of an equally unpleasant woman.
    However, the same can be said of Brady and Hindley, so let’s not be too harsh on the megalomaniac ‘artists’ who let wealth and stardom go to their heads. They were essentially harmless.

  7. Dear Alexander Fretheim. You have put your finger on the weakness of the post-Victorian Englishman. All too ready to accommodate an opponent even when it threatens their very existence. Americans play to win and to hell with a noble defeat as typified in George C. Scott’s portrayal of General Paton in the film’s opening address.

  8. I am sick and tired of the bleating Beatles who poisoned the spiritual atmosphere of the world like Bhopal Disaster on steroids. So I find this piece wonderfully refreshing.

  9. Harry – as always, you give an intelligent and well-thought-out comment.
    What has this comment to do with Lennon? Lennon was a shallow but successful entertainer with delusions of political nous, and if he said there is no God then there isn’t. Yes, the song does say there’s no God; it preaches that we all own everything – all very Marxist, it’s true.
    I firmly believe that he thought himself original rather than a Marxist.

    • Hello Noel, thank you for your compliment on my comment.

      Answering your question:

      1. True, my above comment is not directly about Lennon. I was setting out, as I often do, various aspects of the decline of the West, and ending with an indirect suggestion that we now must work hard and smart if we are to retrieve the situation.

      2. But I did make an indirect reference to Lennon. I see the popularity of Lennon and the popularity of the lyrics of “Imagine” as symptoms of Western decline displayed very clearly fifty years ago.

      The images of “no countries” and “no possessions” are typical of the imaginings of severely naive idealists -people who have no grasp of, indeed no curiosity about the realities of Life-on-Earth.

      These naive idealists have been manipulated and used by the marxist-inspired power-mongers who work to establish a global government -which by its nature could not be democratically elected.

      To apply a distinction I heard Ray Charles use about his own ambitions:

      Charles said he did not set out to be famous, he wanted to be great.

      Lennon was and is famous, but I found him to be ignorant in extreme
      degree in the areas of personal relationships, the civil order and
      geopolitics.

      Lennon was greatly ignorant in all these important matters of Life-on-Earth and he seemed to seek sainthood without doing the hard work typically involved in that endeavour.

      But Lennon is simply a single example of that type of artist-entertainer -these days, almost all are.

      (Did you see the report in recent days that Meghan Markle has employed a PR machine whose task is to fulfill her wish to be “the most famous human being on the planet”?)

      All best, Harry.

    • Dear Noel

      I suggest you to: beatlesinterviews.org/db1971.0121.beatles.html which gives an insight into Lennon. Sure he thought he was an original but that was because he was a fool, he was more properly a vacuum and he absorbed the prevailing counterculture of the day including Marxist thought, handily as he had no principles nothing stuck.

  10. It’s rather lovely music though. It touches and uplifts.

    The sentiment is also well-meaning:
    Killing and war are awful – as Robert Fisk said about the Middle East and Lebanon in particular, ‘War is the total failure of the human spirit.’

    Carried into a political philosophy, it of course becomes a big problem.

    But is it really different from a love song that says, ‘Woman, I will love you forever’

  11. Oh God! These comments show exactly what is wrong with the right. Reading them is like listening to a crowd of football bores in a pub explaining why Jim Black the goalkeeper missed a save. Not a single suggestion of a remedy and as for getting out on the playing field and actually kicking the ball…….forget it

    • Yes, valid point.

      Whereas the Left went into action across many fronts and secured control of all the heights, the Right was unwilling to do the necessary to maintain its power.

      And so Western Civ was lost, even though most folk on the Left and most folk on the Right pretended otherwise.

  12. Lennon’s drug-induced lyrics reflects perfectly the society in the book he probably never read: Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. Had he done so, he might have recognised the end of humanity depicted in his song and dumped the rubbish ditty. His juvenile tosh makes Rambling Sid Rumpo’s songs sound profound. I always refer to ‘Lennon Airport’ in Speke as ‘Lenin Airport’.

  13. Yes, Lennon is an example of one the prominent characteristics of the Cultural Morass, let’s call it an Unnavigable, Undrainable Swamp, that now characterises Western Civ, namely:

    The thoughts and ramblings on the civil order and geopolitics expressed by severely ignorant artists, whose intellects have had no exercise with matters beyond their art, are treated as important, significant, valid, and actionable.

  14. In World War II when Britain was up against it George VI called the nation to prayer. For him, and for those who queued to get into churches, God must have been more than a symbol. I guess that makes them cloud cuckoo fundamentalists.

  15. Not fair to Lennon. He was a political naïf, yes. But he explicitly rejected violentlyrevolution and hatred (“you say you want a revolution”). He was no Marxist.

    Also, “living for today” and “nothing to kill or die for” is obviously meant against killing or dying for abstract utopian ideologies, not that one should not save a drowning child or think nothing about the future.

    As for being a crap philosopher, yes, he was, but when did he ever claim to be one in the first place? Our problem isn’t that John Lennon was a crap philosopher, it was that Karl Marx was a crap philosopher.

    It is like the man who complains his son-in-law doesn’t know how to play poker. So what? Well, the problem is, he plays. Both Marx and Lennon were bad philosophers; the problem is, Marx actually wrote philosophy.

    • Then there was that tribute-in-song to Lennon and McCartney that someone wrote and was performed by Monty Python, among others.

      The song’s title?

      “How Sweet To Be an Idiot”.

  16. White Culture, let’s call it that, urgently requires A Big and Thorough Reformation.

    But that cannot be done, mainly because so many white-created resources must be spent, and all white-created institutions must be corrupted, in the campaign to attend to the special needs of blacks, and other groups of colour incl Muslims from everywhere.

    And add in the Western/white resources and institutional efforts/twistings that now must be deployed to deal with China.

    No Exit?

  17. My respect to Father Peter Mullen for these keen and valid points, so elegantly put.

    Far as I can see, all the world’s Religions and Mythologies have the underlying aim of helping the plain folk, and others not quite so plain, to deal with the disappointments, demands and terrors of Life-on-Earth.

    And again, as far as I can see, all these systems of belief ask the individual person to take full and final responsibility for developing and/or assimilating beliefs that indeed assist the person in dealing with her or his own personal disappointments, losses, and tragedies.

    But we are now in a passage where the majority of peoples of the West, and some peoples in some non-Western precincts, are fueled by wishful thoughts -sourced in extreme naive idealism, of fully anti-empirical/anti-logical nature- such as those presented by Lennon and many other influential persons who make their many millions in the various industries of popular culture.

    These industries now include mass education in the schools and in the colleges/universities and the “news/opinion” media, in addition to the entertainment/arts industry, and elective politics.

    The consequence is that the majority of folk now expect/demand that all their woes, indeed the sources of all disappointment and unhappiness, be rectified by “the government”.

    And of course, this is exactly the condition inspired by marxism and its forebears that can be seen even in the earliest of written records of cultures that developed the written word-

    -many people, then and now, want saviours, secular and/or super-natural, to save ’em.

    But now, might not the Christian Church, or parts thereof, get smart and organise and deploy their many resources to do a more effective job in the Long Rear-Guard Action as Western Civ continues its decline into The Abyss?

    No?

    It seems not.

    And that inertia and the incapacity to organise and mobilise resources to regain proper ground -the condition of “Why bother, it is all too hard, esp the part that
    requires one to sacrifice the comforts and safety of one’s secular life in the Cause of the Greater Good and anyway, the life-long slog of providing proper leadership to the masses just ain’t worth it”- now permeates the personal belief system of the very large majority of all denizens of all the West, in all walks and stations of life.

    I say this not to cast blame or to shame any person -I like comfort and safety myself and blowed if I will sell my own life to fix the lives of those who will not shift for themselves.

    Eh.

  18. Lennon was a good musician and singer, but a crap philosopher – agreed.
    There, I’ve said it all without wasting my time writing an article.

    • Some Lennon/McCartney songs were based on Marxist ideas:
      Please Mr Secret Policeman
      I Wanna Chain Your Hands
      Mull of Barbed Wire

  19. This is far from the first critique of that tawdry song that I have read online; but it is one of the most memorable. I first encountered the song in the mid 1970s, shortly before I became a Christian; and even then I thought it was a load of twaddle — like almost all the quasi-philosophical musings that poured out of the variegated realms of hippydom.

    It rests just about at the top of my hate list of songs. It jostles for first place with “My Way” — though my hatred of that song is for very different reasons. “My Way” is one of the most popular songs for performance in Karaoke, and for playing at funerals. That popularity is a tragic comment on the human condition. Can’t you just imagine Adam singing it to Eve as they walked out of the Garden of Eden?

    My hatred of “Imagine” is much more visceral. For a start, its popularity is not tragic, for it has none of the musical or intellectual strengths of “My Way”; and its claims for universality are utterly provincial. The strengths of “My Way”, slight though they might be, have a certain power to engage — even as I hate it — especially if they’re sung by a singer as fine as Sinatra.

    No, “Imagine” is pure bilge-water, and an appalling comment on our times. I remember someone saying that a world of the kind that Lennon speaks is not a world worth fighting for — whether the fight was physical, intellectual, cultural or anything else. No wonder we’re in such a mess, when half the world reckons that this stuff, straight from the “narcissistic sewer” of Lennon’s imagination, is wholesome and prophetic.

    “it contains more contradictions than a Logical Positivists’ tea party” HeeHee! I’ll remember that!

    Thank you, Father Peter.

    • I’ve read many critiques of the song, but there’s one obvious point that always seems to be missed: this song was written by an Englishman, and could basically not have been written by hardly any other culture. Lennon’s song is actually an example of the worst thing about English culture: the way it’s obsession for milquetoast, moderate, inoffensiveness can lead to a literal cult of nothing and no purpose. Marx was absolutely right to despair of the inability of Britain to have a Communist revolution, but vapid lassitude of Lennon’s sort is a very real existential threat to all English-speaking peoples.

      • Things are bad in England alright.

        But utterances as anti-Reality as Lennon’s have been pouring out of the universities and other opinion media of all Western nations, esp since 1945.

        Ditto all the West’s entertainment-arts industries.

        Two points:

        1. This not confined to England -it is all across the West, with some notable current rear-guard actions in Poland, Hungary and a bit in Austria and Northen Italy.

        2. It is not that Lennon’s lyrics are moderate and inoffensive -it’s that they actually encourage the enstupidation of the masses in preparation for the globalist-marxist takeover.