What does the story “Harrison Bergeron” suggest about “equality”? Is there a difference between equality and equal opportunity?

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In Vonnegut's short story, the United States Constitution has been amended hundreds of times and has resulted in an environment where every citizen is equal in every possible aspect. Physically talented, intelligent, and beautiful individuals have been forced to wear cumbersome weights, ugly masks, and devices that prevent them from thinking deeply about subjects in order to make them perfectly mediocre in every way, shape, and form. Vonnegut's dystopian society illustrates the dangers associated with attempting to force equality by punishing talented people instead of celebrating individual differences. Vonnegut depicts a clear difference between total equality and equal opportunity in his short story. While Vonnegut believes that society is responsible for protecting the weak and less fortunate by passing legislation that promotes equal opportunities in education, employment, and justice, he does not think society should celebrate the lazy, incompetent, and mediocre. Vonnegut also does not favor punishing individuals who are more talented, innovative, and beautiful in order to appease those who are less gifted. Essentially, Vonnegut is in favor of equal opportunity, but he rejects the idea that society should punish talented individuals while simultaneously promoting mediocrity.

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