“Imagine” From a Libertarian Perspective

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?
~John Lennon
Happier times in NYC
Yesterday, December 7, was the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but I’m willing to bet that today, December 8, resonates much more clearly to the later generation for better or worse. 30 years ago today, John Lennon was senselessly murdered. It was, like the death of Elvis Presley or Princess Diane, one of the defining tragic moments in pop culture for a generation.
I’m not one of the over-the-top Beatles and/or Lennon fans. I enjoy the music and listen to it whenever I’m in the mood. I like the idea of peace and justice for all (who wouldn’t?) but I also realize its impossibility in a world gone so wrong. Even if it were a reality, there would still be a need for noble warriors to defend the cause of freedom and liberty.
Listening to “Imagine” again today, I looked at my stand as a non-commercial libertarian neo-Luddite. Yes, it would be a great world without commercialism, and certainly a much cleaner world. However, I don’t like the idea of giving up my possessions entirely. That’s too much of a grey area for a totalitarian government (anybody remember Soviet Russia and how well that worked out?)
I’ll go ahead and do a line-by-line commentary on Lennon’s most popular work. Haven’t done that since high school, so consider yourself warned, dear reader…
Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
Since I’m essentially agnostic, this one doesn’t bother me so much. I *like* the idea of an afterlife but I don’t necessarily go for the idea of eternal life. If there were no Heaven/afterlife at all and it were scientifically proven, it might stop a lot of conflict based in religion, which is to say, all conflict.
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Ever notice how many mainstream religions seem to get their kicks based on determing who will or won’t go to hell? Let’s just say for the sake of argument that either Christians or Moslems are absolutely, 100 percent correct that only those of their faith wind up in heaven, and everyone else is condemned to hell or eternal punishment. This leaves, either way, approximately 4/5 of the world’s population who, for whatever reason, are going straight to hell when they die. Doesn’t seem like a very just God(s) to me.
Imagine all the people
Living for today
This line I rather like. So many people are stuck either in the past or the future, never thinking about the present. In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda keeps telling Luke he must be mindful the present. That’s not to say we shouldn’t remember and study the past, or anticipate the future, but that we need to focus on what we can do today to help make the world better.
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
OK, now I’m running into conflict. I am not a paranoia-induced, conspiracy-loving gal, but I do have a problem with the idea of a One World government. I won’t waste too much space on why. In a nutshell, it’s about checks and balances of power. War is inevitable (even in a fictional world such as Orwell’s 1984, in which the world exists under an ostensible One World socialist government, there are still wars.) Wars go on with Christian fighting Christian, Moslem fighting Moslem, Hindu fighting Hindo. In 6000 years of recorded human history, little has changed. All right; rant over now…
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Unfortunately, with a limited amount of resources, there will always be those who find a need to kill and/or die for something. Religion, when used properly, has its uses: it gives people something greater than themselves to believe in, generally keeps them humble, and is the basis for a moral code.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
World peace would be great. But again, do we expect it to happen after 6000 years of futility (and huge nuclear stockpiles?)
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
Another necessary evil for me…dealing with groups. I’m pretty much genetically predisposed not to like groups, but in order to get things done, I have to swallow my pride. Aspies are a lot like cats. We just don’t “do” groups and we don’t really get those who do.
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
OK, I can’t hear this line without thinking of Darth Vader offering to let Luke be his co-Imperial Ruler Guy in Empire again. I guess I’m just on a SW kick.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
Umm…nope. Sorry. I can imagine the abolition of mindless consumerism, which is something entirely different. Giving up one’s property rights is, in essence, giving up one’s right to be an individual. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, the only way I’m giving up my weapons is for someone to pry them from my cold, dead fingers.
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Unfortunately, there has also been poverty throughout the entire span of human existence. (Ever heard of the 80/20 principle?) It’s not about to change anytime soon, although progress has been made.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
It’s a nice thought, but socialism/Communism/Marxism/statism only ever work in theory. Inequity of ability, as well as desire, create different social classes. This will always happen. It also happens in the animal kingdom.
Now, as I said, I’m all for the idea of world peace. The only person who enjoys war is either a brute or a fool. But I also see the need for noble warriors who will defend the more peaceful types. As someone once said, I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it. Diversity of opinions keeps a system of checks and balances in place. Totalitarianism on either side, right or left, inevitably leads to evil.
So in a nutshell, I’m certainly sad that Mr. Lennon was taken from this world far too early. I may not agree with a number of positions he took while he was alive, but I respect his opinions nonetheless.
We could all take a lesson in respecting one another on this day…and every day.

Imagine...your own personal unicorn

Like what you read? Drop me a line at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com, or better yet, subscribe to Prawn and Quartered…it’s free and satisfaction is guaranteed!

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on December 8, 2010.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

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