The government and society in “Harrison Bergeron” feel that in order to achieve happiness or a utopian way of life everyone needs to be equal. They have skewed the meaning of what equality really is. In a democracy like the United States, we see equality as a way for everyone to be protected and insured the same rights set up by laws and our basic beliefs. For example, the fact that everyone has free speech guaranteed by law shows that people have an equal footing in society; theoretically, no one gets preferential treatment. The laws established protect individuality and self-expression as long as rules are obeyed. Unfortunately, the society in the short story thinks that equal means to make everyone the same; there is no room for personal expression or individuality. To do this, they identify the strengths of each of their citizens and handicap them. Harrison is a young, strong teenager, and in order to make him no better than anyone else, the government ties sandbags around his neck to weigh him down. This “handicap” will keep him from rising above the rest because of his physical strength. Harrison’s father, George, appears to be very intelligent, so the government places devices in his ears that when he starts to think too much, a loud noise is blared into his ears cutting off all thought.
The society in "Harrison Bergeron" has settled for a mediocre existence that doesn't celebrate the various individuals who make up the society but restricts their abilities and talents to create a mundane, unexciting society the government thinks is happy being oppressed.