What did the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution achieve?

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"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is an absurd science fiction satire that proposes a society in which the government mandates equality for everyone. The 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments are the legal justifications that Vonnegut gives for the draconian measures that society imposes upon exceptional people.

The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anyone else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. This was all due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

What the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments achieve is a sort of pseudo-legal rationale for all the crazy things that government agents do to keep people equal. For instance, Harrison's father, George, because he has exceptional intelligence, has a sound transmitter in his ear that periodically blasts him with loud noises so that he is unable to think better than anyone else. Ballerinas on TV have face masks and are weighed down with sash weights and birdshot so that they can't dance well or appear exceptional. Harrison himself, a genius and athlete, has a large pair of earphones, spectacles with thick wavy lenses, scrap metal weighing him down, and a number of impediments meant to disguise his good looks, including a red rubber ball over his nose. Ultimately, the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments justify the extreme measure at the end of the story, when the Handicapper General murders Harrison Bergeron and the ballerina he dances with in order to restore societal equality.

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In Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron," the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution have created a uniform society, where every citizen is completely equal in all facets of life. The person in charge of ensuring that every citizen is perfectly equal is the Handicapper General, Diana Moon Glampers, who is depicted as an intense, violent antagonist. In the year 2081, talented, beautiful, and exceptionally skilled individuals are forced to wear cumbersome handicaps that minimize their capabilities and oppress their individuality in order to make them equal with everyone else in society. Intelligent individuals are forced to wear loud earphones that constantly interrupt their thoughts while beautiful people must wear ugly masks to cover their attractive faces. Talented citizens risk being thrown into prison for removing or altering their handicaps and extremely skilled individuals like Harrison Bergeron are considered a threat to the government.

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