Harrison Bergeron Essay

Jan 10, 2009 Filed under:Samples — admin @ 9:01 am

Writing Harrison Bergeron Essay

If you need essay on Harrison Bergeron, you should read the short story first.  Unfortunately, teachers do not understand that not every student is able to write a good essay. Fortunately for students, they have an opportunity to review samples of custom written essays! Using our custom essay writing service you get a professional essay written especially for you!

Sample Essay on Harrison Bergeron

Kurt Vonnegut's short story, "Harrison Bergeron," makes use of a similar technique in order to indict the principle that "Government should strive to promote absolute equality." Vonnegut imagined a world in which this principle has been fully accepted:

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 anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

The Handicapper General makes sure that everybody is equal by establishing handicaps for people with some advantage: Attractive people must wear ugly masks, strong people must carry weights, smart people must wear earphones that disrupt their thoughts. Vonnegut's extrapolated vision of a perfectly egalitarian society was not meant as a prediction of things to come, but rather as a test of a principle that has influenced contemporary social reform efforts.

The strategy of extrapolation is often equally useful in actual debate. When confronted with a statement of principle by one's opponent, ask yourself: "What would the world be like if we lived by this principle?"

Let us consider the controversy over prohibition of flag-burning in the United States. One argument launched in favor of criminal penalties has been that they enhance the effectiveness of the act as political dissent by increasing the publicity and audience. This argument may seem clever at first glance; it attempts to coopt the position of the other side (as opponents of criminal penalties will undoubtedly support the value of flagburning as political expression) into a reason to vote for penalties. But the true absurdity of the claim can be revealed by (a) exposing the underlying principle (people should be jailed for political expression because it increases their audience) and (b) extrapolating it into a more general system of law and speech. Imagine what the world be like if governed by the principle that any just action should be punished in order to produce sympathetic publicity.

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