Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 short story “Harrison Bergeron” centers on a society dedicated to absurd levels of equality. The opening lines of Vonnegut’s story provide the setting and an introduction to the use of technology in the story:
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 anyone else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anyone else.
This radical equality is available only through the advanced technology and “vigilance” of an agency called the Handicapper General. Rather than valuing talent, this fictional society has opted to crush it to ensure equality of outcome. The responsibilities of The Handicapper General involve installing and monitoring creative “handicaps” on individuals to ensure that they do not rise above the pack and become overly talented. Some of these handicaps are physical, such as adding weights...
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