Tag: Harrison Bergeron

Our Handicapped Society

There is a 1961 short story, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, that is about the future in 2081 when everybody is equal. They are not only equal in God’s eyes and before the law, but “equal in every which way”. I learned of the story from an article at the Cato Institute on Income Inequality.

To make people equal in every way, beautiful people had to wear masks, strong people had to wear pounds and pounds of weights to slow them down, and intelligent people had to wear radio devices in their ears that made loud noises whenever a thought would occur, keeping them from thinking.

To enforce equality, there was a Handicapper General to make sure that everybody was equal in everything.

Severe penalties were instituted for being unequal ( or superior), and not abiding by the handicaps mandated by the Handicapper General’s government department.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? We are seeing the beginnings of this Handicapped Society, now, as universal healthcare, income redistribution, and tax-the-rich ideas are being pushed by the Federal Government.  Universal healthcare means that everybody gets the same, inadequate healthcare. Income redistribution means that incentive is sucked out of society. Taxing the rich is a simple-minded way to even out the tax burden that doesn’t need evening out.

It is all about jealousy.

Why do some people want everybody to be equal in every way? We all know that this is an impossibility, so why strive for something that is not achievable or desirable?

Total equality in society necessitates handicaps. It is that simple.

How do you see this working out?