Is it possible for everyone to be entirely equal in a society? In “Harrison Bergeron,” the government created a way to make its citizens “equal,” when in actually, they were just masking people’s talents and individuality. Weights, earpieces, and glasses were used to prevent people from being able to show off any sort of talent or beauty they once had. This was because the government wanted all citizens to be ugly, slow-moving, forgetful beings.
I argue that the government’s method was pointless. Basically the better looking and more talented a person was, the more handicaps were used. This does not mask their individuality. It actually heightens it. Based off of the severity of handicaps, you could tell who was talented and good-looking. Of course no one could actually piece those facts together though, because of the handicaps they had. They were unable to form coherent thoughts, which basically turned them into mindless robots. All they were allowed to truly do was work and that was it.
What is the point of even creating a society like this? Just having people run through the motions seems like an illogical waste of time and effort. The people in government could not have been truly living their lives to the fullest either, because so many people around them were incoherent robots. Proper relationships and friendships could not be made with people outside of the government because of the handicaps. So even from a person in government’s point of view, this type of lifestyle seems like a waste.
In addition to the handicaps used on the citizens, mind-tricks were enforced by using television as a weapon. To further distract people from the horrors of their society, television was used as a sedative. Propaganda programs and other mindless entertainment played throughout the day to keep citizens occupied. This, along with the handicap that made people lose their train of thought, completely takes over the mind and puts the government in complete control.
The scene where Harrison Bergeron was killed on live television serves as a prime example of the power that the government holds over its citizens’ minds. Harrison’s mother was watching her son’s murder take place and did not have the mental capacity to piece everything together to realize what had just happened. Her handicaps prevented her mind from forming a coherent thought. At the time, she appeared to be aware of something terrible happening because she was crying while watching the murder. However, almost immediately, she had forgotten what happened and proceeded to watch the rest of her television programs.
This relates to today’s society in the sense that television is used as a distraction to what is going on in a person’s life. Many people get home from work and sit in front of the TV until they fall asleep. It allows them to give their minds a break and not really have to think about anything. Parents use television as a distraction for their kids as well. They put their children in front of the television just to keep them busy or to stop them from crying. These tactics are crippling to the young children’s minds because it is making them addicted to technology. Ipads, cell-phones, and video games all fall into this category.
The government was successful in keeping their vision alive. They achieved total equality by turning everyone into ugly, slow moving, forgetful beings, and also succeeded with occupying their citizens’ minds at all times of the day. If a person was able to form a coherent thought and figure out what was going on, like Harrison Bergeron, they were stopped immediately. Bringing back my argument, all of the government’s hard work was still pointless. They were just people in power that were surrounded by mindless robots.