Culture wars 

Lennon’s utopia is no dream, it’s a nightmare

Lennon’s utopia is no dream, it’s a nightmare

At the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations last night in New York’s Times Square, a hallowed tradition was observed once again. Bebe Rexha was the latest singer to perform John Lennon’s song Imagine immediately before the 60-second countdown to the pyrotechnically punctuated stroke of midnight.

The song is chosen for this sacred annual spot because it is regarded by many as a hymn to a better world. “Imagine there’s no countries,” sang Lennon, “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 may say I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one/ I hope some day you’ll join us/ And the world will be as one.”

There was a time when I was swept along by this paean to universal harmony, as were so many in my baby-boomer generation. No more division or strife but instead peace on earth and the brotherhood of man. What’s not to like? But then I grew up. For what we were being told to imagine was not a prescription for loving the whole of the human race but a denial of our very humanity.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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