Does Kurt Vonnegut like the society he describes in "Harrison Bergeron"?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is nothing about America in 2081 (the futuristic setting of "Harrison Bergeron") that Kurt Vonnegut likes--except for the title character.

This is a world in which 

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.

Because of the government (through Amendments 211-213 of the Constitution), people are equal in the lowest, meanest possible way. There is no greatness in anything the citizens see, hear, create, or do. Everything may be equal, but there is not much worth living for in this world. 

The fact that the handicaps are ugly is another indicator that Vonnegut does not approve of this world. Bags of bird shot, chains, masks, and more are hung all over people. He describes fourteen-year-old Harrison Bergeron this way:

Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

Clearly the author thinks this kind of a world kills beauty, because he has the infamous Giana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, kill Harrison and the beautiful ballerina during a dance of sheer beauty, freedom, and elegance.

Who does Vonnegut blame for this world? I suppose in the end it is us, for insisting that equal means same, and the government for acting on this ridiculous idea. Equality is the freedom and opportunity to be whomever we choose, not the same as everyone else as determined by the government enforcers. 

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