Everyone Will Be Equal (But Some More than Others)

I’m really looking forward to the film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” that Rachel Kania recently mentioned. Here again is the description of the story:

A short film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, 2081  depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is “finally equal….” The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything.

Before we consider the lessons of equality and liberty, we’d do well to first recognize that this society is not actually equal. “Regular” citizens are “equal,” but the dictators and government officials that wield power over them are put on a much higher level than the rest of the populace.

The irony is, for government to enforce “equality,” it has to create an inequality between government officials and the people.

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