Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Dystopian Sweepstakes

George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World have recently experienced a surge of interest. It's not clear if they're being read as cautionary tales or as procedure manuals, but there are certainly some current-event parallels to be found - Antifa thugs violently suppress speech and Facebook serves as Soma - but these dystopian visions are yet a long way from reality.

There is another tale that is an unambiguous representation of Progressivism: Kurt Vonnegut's 1961 short story Harrison Bergeron (full text).

Bergeron is a short story about equality, where equality means that if everyone can’t have something, no one will be allowed to. The opening paragraph:
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.
Two recent headlines could have come straight from the story:
UK Student Group: Ban Cheering, Clapping So Deaf Are Not Excluded

Berkeley Removes 20,000* Free Online Videos to Comply with Insane Department of Justice Ruling

I am empathetic to people who are deaf, blind, lame or otherwise disabled, but the logical extension of these idiocies is that we're all forced into sensory deprivation tanks to float quietly without giving offense, until we starve to death.

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