Bono wants to save the world one song at a time.

U2’s lead singer has never been shy about overstepping his reach, be it shoving music onto fans via iTunes or playing Live Aid to help starving Africans.

His activism has always been messy and full of contradictions, never more apparent than when his band dodges tax burdens while demanding others pay up.

His new memoir, “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story,” captures his colorful life with the Irish quartet, now in its fifth decade of music. The singer spoke to The New York Times about the book, his thoughts on activism and more.

The conversation found Bono, whose politics lean to the Left, admitting a hard truth for Times readers to hear. Socialism isn’t the global panacea we need. Capitalism, warts and all, is the better option.

Bono blasted activists who love breaking stuff but can’t be bothered getting their hands dirty to make things happen. Systemic change demands hard work, he says, and not everyone is up to the task.

More importantly, all the donations in the world won’t necessarily solve intractable problems like hunger. And that lesson clashed with the man he used to be.

I ended up as an activist in a very different place from where I started. I thought that if we just redistributed resources, then we could solve every problem. I now know that’s not true. There’s a funny moment when you realize that as an activist: The off-ramp out of extreme poverty is, ugh, commerce, it’s entrepreneurial capitalism.

Later, he slammed those who reflexively bash business leaders, ignoring how important they are for the greater good.

I didn’t grow up to like the idea that we’ve made heroes out of businesspeople, but if you’re bringing jobs to a community and treating people well, then you are a hero.

Bono also spoke of reaching across the aisle, praising anew President George W. Bush’s efforts to fight HIV in Africa. He admits doing so may lose the group some fans, but so be it.


The singer retained some of his progressive bona fides in the interview, calling Rupert Murdoch “evil” and reciting the Democrat party line that he’s destroying democracy without a scrap of evidence. He also cursed out Che Guevara, a no-no in far-Left circles.

Bono previously railed against President Donald Trump, too, calling him “potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America.”

Later, U2’s frontman banned Trump from attending U2 concerts and slammed him as a return to previous, cruel leaders.

Big primates have been around a lot longer than democracy, and this dude who shall not be named – he is just a new manifestation of that big primate.

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