“Requiem for the American Dream”–A Pending Nightmare?

 

chomskyThis eerily prescient documentary (2015) narrated by Noam Chomsky was in development before the official announcement of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Yet, in the “Ten Principles of the Concentration of Wealth and Power” the viewer sees the redesigning of the US economy.

Perhaps the most disturbing insight in “Requiem for a Dream” is the historical analysis of the US constitution, the drafting of which protected the major landowners from losing political power. Slowly the “protection”evolved into “corporate tyranny” and ultimately “financialization of the US economy”. Job insecurity through weakening unionization created an environment of conquer and divide, of hate and fear for each other, with an ever-growing and unfocused anger and vulnerability on the part of the general workforce. What Chomsky calls “the residue of democracy” is now upon us as the engineering of elections through the concentration of wealth results in paid politicians governing a “bewildered herd”.

“Requiem for the American Dream” is indeed sobering. Chomsky, known for his activism during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, bemoans the state of “an uninformed electorate making irrational choices often against their own self-interest.” This is a documentary that is a must-see for all of us trying to make sense of the election three weeks ago. The historical perspective is an eye-opener.

Note:  This documentary is available on Netflix.

4 comments on ““Requiem for the American Dream”–A Pending Nightmare?

  1. Noam Chomsky is the brightest of us. I first read one of his works back in the late 1960’s, when I attended university. I haven’t always understood every concept or all the logic… I’m bright but not in his league. And, I haven’t always agreed with everything he says. But, this piece is his pinnacle essay. Read, and think…

  2. I haven’t seen this documentary but it sounds like typical Chomsky, out of his depth, as usual. He’s a linguist, not an economist, not a historian, and lacks the methodology of both professions, although that has never stopped him from pretending to be both. And unfortunately, because he’s intelligent, he can sound like he knows what he’s talking about when he doesn’t really. The American Constitution, with its incredible balance of powers between the three branches of government, and between the states and the Federal government, did not protect “BIG” landowners, but private property itself and the right of ownership, the very foundation of our country and our rights. He in fact describe himself as a socialist and an anarchist, by the way. His attitude toward “a bewildered herd” and “an uninformed electorate making irrational choices often against their own self-interest.” are truly elitist. If elections are “engineered” at all, it’s because of gerrymandering.

    Also disturbing- which perhaps he doesn’t touch upon explicitely in this documentary – is his well-documented anti-Semitism. Perhaps this is what he is saying between-the-lines in this documentary. He said, in 2002 for example: “By now Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population. You find occasional instances of anti-Semitism but they are marginal.” and “Anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It’s raised, but it’s raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control.”

    It’s valid to look at the state of democracy in America, and to look at the roots of hatred and fear in America, and the source and effects of the widening gap between wealth and poor, but he frames the question to get the answer he wants. How does Chomsky explain, then, how a poor lawyer named Abraham Lincoln could become our 14th president? Or Barak Obama our 44th?

    Burying the American dream? Perhaps Chomsky’s dream would be to see it buried, because it “proves” his socialist theor and his own prejudices. Not so fast, Mr. Chomsky.

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