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Give War a Chance?

John Lennon, the right-wing, reagonite war-hawk? So say's Lennon's last personal assistant:

John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter.


I also saw John embark in some really brutal arguments with my uncle, who's an old-time communist... He enjoyed really provoking my uncle... Maybe he was being provocative... but it was pretty obvious to me he had moved away from his earlier radicalism.

He was a very different person back in 1979 and 80 than he'd been when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that guy's naivete.

I don't know if Lennon's alleged conservative conversion is genuine, but it would make listening to Come Together all the sweeter.  

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Discussions - 14 Comments

This must be the news of the day.

I'll bet Lennon was an economic conservative and not so much one of the other kinds. Think how outrageous it must have seemed for formerly working class guys to be paying, what, 90- 95% of their income in taxes in the 1960's and early 70's.

Which of the Beatles wrote "Taxman"?

Anyone of sense would be embarrassed by "Imagine": dreary tune, insipid lyrics. It was elevator music when it was produced.

Imagine that song never being written.

We are talking about the guy who used to wear the little Mao cap? I really find it hard to believe.

Yes, yes, I'm certain that Lennon finally grew up and became a "Reagonite" (sic).

Reminds me of that thoughtful fellow (was it Breitbart? O'Keefe?) over at National Review who compiled the list of conservative rock songs. Absurd.

The Right finds it almost impossible to get any worthwhile musician to work with them or allow the use of their songs for their campaigns of hate and idiocy. See Michele Bachmann's recent woes on that front:

The best you've been able to do is... Ted Nugent.

Which is ironic for the party of "family values" (warning, not exactly safe-for-work - Ted Nugent album cover):

(and he hasn't exactly matured since then)

Oh wait, I forgot about the musical genius of The Right Brothers! They certainly have been unparalleled musical trailblazers, haven't they?

So, much like Bachmann's minions trying to rewrite history on Wikipedia so that John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father, the Right tries to make rock music the music genre of conservatism.

The rabid right probably doesn't have the sense to tell Bachmann "Don't Come Around Here No More." But they'll likely just revert to singing "Born in the USA" and driving Springsteen crazy.

I believe there is just a lot of drugs involved in this one. I can't "imagine" Lennon trying to hide his conservatism from Yoko Ono.

Ted Nuget for Secretary of State and let him carry around the black box. That will keep all these crazies in line.

Maybe this is why he left Yoko Ono?

Since I am a convert from the revolutionary Left, it is easy for me to believe this of anyone. If you believe in individual liberty the shallow and expressive sort of the Left seems good until you find how confining and conforming it is. The platitudes of the Left sicken. Look at Craig's response. All must be one way and there is no room for individuality.

If you are of the Left and you want a revolution, turning right is the best direction for changing the status quo. That was why many of us embraced the Reagan Revolution. In 1980 he was the freshest thing happening in politics.

I study John Quincy Adams. He saw himself as a relic of the Founding in Jacksonian America. He thought he was expressing what the Founders thought, especially about the withering away of slavery; that everyone would come to accept the sentiments of the Declaration. He was wrong. She was wrong, but he wouldn't have thought so.

Kate raises an interesting point worth discussing some time. Neither the beginning nor the end of the Founding is a fixed point. For example, it's fun to think of JQA's nemesis, Martin Van Buren, as a founder (of party), contributing an essential institution to self-government. And I agree with what Kate says about JQA. As for the starting point of the founding, we have Tocqueville to mess up the chronology. (John Adams' famous quote about the "real" revolution does the same.)

"The platitudes of the Left sicken. Look at Craig's response. All must be one way and there is no room for individuality."

An interesting take for such a fan of Ashbrook and its "No Left Turns" blog. Individuality and various ways of thinking and doing are welcome in a world of no left turns? Also, what "platitudes" did I even offer?

"If you are of the Left and you want a revolution, turning right is the best direction for changing the status quo."

I think that's telling, especially from such a self-described "convert." I guess you're correct, as long as one's sole concern is changing the status quo, and has no actual values or principles that they care about. "Right, left, who cares? Just as long as the status quo is crushed and we get some sort of revolution! Practical political expediency over principles!"

"She [Bachmann] was wrong, but he [JQA] wouldn't have thought so."

This is a recurring problem with today's Tea Birchers. They are absurdly certain that what they want the Founders would want. What the Founders wanted then is the exact same thing they're after today. If they're as accurate in knowing what the men of 230+ years ago had in mind for us as they are in knowing what still-living men intended by their song lyrics (w/ those men shouting out "Wrong! Not what I had in mind!"), then we might want to step back from Bachmann & Co.'s first shots of the current right-wing revolution (What state were those of the Founding Fathers fired in again?? Oh well, whatever, trivial details - she feels the Patriot Power in her GUT!!).

I suppose that a way of considering the matter. Who, then, is in our pantheon?

Even without that, JQA was in a unique position because of his father. He saw the 1776 Revolutionary War battles from his mother's side. Then, he was overseas assisting his father, who was ambassador to France and then to The Netherlands from 1778 until he was sent to Russia as secretary and translator for Francis Dana in 1781. That was when he was fourteen years old. In other words, he worked for the Revolutionary government from a very early age. He knew everyone, including most of the Founders, because he was his father's son and moved in those circles, and because he worked for every president from Washington to Monroe until he was president himself. Maybe he was too young to be a Founder because he didn't sign any major document, (call this Bachman's error?) but he was certainly helping during the Founding.

Because of that and because of the way he thought about politics, he thought himself part of the Founding generation. He might be unique in that.

They separated for two years from 1973 to 1975. They reconciled and lived together until his death in 1980. The separation was most likely due to Lennon possbily being deported from Britian on drug charges. Sean Lennon was born in 1975 - their only son.

They were horrible to Julian - Lennon's first son from his marriage

Craig, what I was saying up there was that the natural right of every person to liberty was one of my principles which I realized could never be achieved through the socialist politics I had at the time. The reconciliation of my principles with my politics was a great relief. I am not surprised you didn't understand.

As I said, I study JQA. I have read everything I could get my hands on that anyone has written about him and I have read much of he wrote in the form of speeches and letters. I am in the process of reading all of his memoirs, which I had only read in part previously. I study JQA and have written about him and am in a glacially slow process of writing more about him than anyone else wants to know (probably).

If you read what someone like JQA said or wrote, then you get to have a good idea of what they thought. There are even historians who have read what the Founders said or wrote in order to achieve a certain depth of understanding. (Believe it or not.) Reading what those historians write can help with your understanding of history. The Ashbrook Center seems to consider helping people understand the Founding (and all of American history) as one of its goals. If you look into some on the links on the upper left of the page, you too can understand what real historical figures thought through reading what they said on a variety of topics.

Personally, I thought this was elementary. The study of history through original documents and secondary sources is not really that hard. I know many people who study history for fun. (I began that way.) Many of those people who belong to the parties that you deplore study history for fun, too.

And, yes, Craig, we are all sorry that you do not recognize when you write in Leftist platitudes.

cowgirl, I shared a street corner near where I lived in NYC with Lennon and May Pang in 1976. I knew all about him back then since my boyfriend, who is now my husband, was a fan in an extreme way and talked about lennon all the time. (I thought he was going to faint from the combined stress of excitment and the necessity of trying to be cool in front of his hero.)

I guess I knew what you tell me because it is familiar from the news stories at the time of his murder, but I had stopped caring.

Thanks for the reminder.

Johnny Ramone was a Republican, so we've got that going for us.

What a cool memory - living in NYC near Lennon. Thanks for sharing it....

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