In this documentary, which is short (73 minutes), Noam Chomsky, who is old, conducts the complex story of rising inequality in the United States into a flow of thought that is as limpid as one of those streams that form as ice is melting in the spring. Not everything Chomsky says is correct, however. He does make some mistakes, and he also has a touch too much nostalgia for the New Deal era, a period that had many, many problems. But for the most part, the ideas and insights that flow out of his mouth (so clear, so simple, so thoughtful) square with reality.

Requiem for the American Dream, which has lots of gorgeous images and an excellent score, is organized into chapters, and each chapter contains a leading concept. For example, one concept concerns solidarity, which Chomsky sees in anthropological terms. For him, solidarity is as natural as our hair, our teeth, our eyes. It is our species-being, if I may borrow and bend a bit an expression coined long ago by a young Karl Marx.

What is solidarity? It is, for one, our Social Security program, which basically comes down to this: a sum of money going from those who can live without it to those who can’t. But this is not how the super-rich like to do things; they are hardcore individualists and want to live in a society that is dominated by those kinds of values. As a consequence, when the super-rich attack a socialist program like Social Security, they must also attack what it means to be a human. We are the solidarity animal. Chomsky says this in his own lucid words. As for the super-rich? Chomsky does not say what kind of animal they are? Maybe they aren’t even from Earth. recommended