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Published in 1961, Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" clearly invokes the fears of many who, after the passage of Civil Rights legislation, feared the federal government would propose more and more schemes that would enforce equality of outcome.
In the society of the year 2081 everyone "was finally equal...every which way." In fact, the government has passed new Amendments to enforce this "equality." In order to make everyone--actually, force everyone--to be the same as the others. And, by ensuring that "nobody was better looking than anybody else," the pretty ballerinas who appear on television are made to wear masks. They are also "burdened with sash weights and bags of birdshot" so that they are unable to jump or dance better than anyone else in the group.
When the news announcer tries to say, "Ladies and gentlemen," he is so inarticulate that he is compelled to had the bulletin to a ballerina to read. When she reads, her voice is so polished that she feels compelled to apologize for it, "which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Finally, she is able to make her voice "uncompetitive."
This dystopia in which everyone is supposedly made equal instead punishes the superior and values the mediocre. The individual civil rights of those who are more intelligent, more athletic, more articulate, and more artistic have been sacrificed to the common "equality" of all as they are burdened with handicaps and even prison if they disobey.
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