Is Equality Going Too Far?

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Melissa Raboczkay Thursday 19:00-21:55 Is Equality Going Too Far? “Equality…is the result of human organization. We are not born equal.” (Quotation Details) This quote, stated by social philosopher Hannah Arendt, bares truth to the message that Vonnegut is portraying in “Harrison Bergeron”. We, as human beings, are not born equal or rather we do not all possess the same characteristics and qualities as others; some excel at different aspects and by making the outcome equal it hinders our own unique capabilities. Vonnegut not only satirizes the mistaken of equality in the American culture but rather he may also be satirizing the misunderstanding of what leveling and equality could ultimately entail. More specifically, this text could be thought of as a parody to America’s Cold War misconception of not just communism but socialism as well. The story begins with this definition of the narrator’s twisted yet addled utopian view on equality. “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 any smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker thank anybody else.” (Vonnegut). This definition codifies the common American objectives not just to communist states but also to socialist ones. The narrator begins with the widespread assertion that the United States not only can and does know God’s law, but that God’s favorite country is instituting it. This notion correlates very well with the Cold War and the “patriotic” move towards amending the phrase “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. So the narrator’s definition of America’s equality begins not be positing a future equality as much as exposing the misunderstanding of it in the past as well as the present. If we run with the idea that the mediocrity depicted in the
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