Why Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron is one of my favorite short dystopian stories of all time

When a short story begins like this…

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal 
before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter 
than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was 
stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 
211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing 
vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

You often wonder if it can happen in America. All I can say is that after reading this short story, my point of view on equality has changed drastically. 1 on 1 is equal. It sounds simple enough but it is not. When people think of equal, they think about sameness, similarity but what if equal does not necessarily have to mean balanced? Even concepts of equality can be exaggerated if one thinks about it. Vonnegut demonstrates that notion in this short story that was published in 1969 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.


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