Government Authority, how much is too much. In the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. it is the year 2081 and the government has total power over the citizen’s lives in an attempt to make everyone equal. The very fact that the government has power of the citizen’s lives means that they are not equal because they have more power than the regular people. It is dangerous to give the government this much power and it is a failure of the people to allow them so much. The story centers on George and Hazel Bergeron.
A couple who has recently had their fourteen year old son Harrison Bergeron taken away because he could not be made the same as everyone else. George and Hazel both have different handicaps imposed on them by the government to make them equal. Hazel has an average intelligence so she cannot think about things for long periods of time and cannot remember her son was taken. George has an above average intelligence and is required to wear a mental handicap radio in his ear which frequently sends out and annoying sound to disrupt his train of thought.
The government has forced handicaps to make them equal and to keep them down so they have not chance to change the way the world is. The Bergeron’s son Harrison is as unequal as possible. He is describes as a seven foot tall athlete with enormous strength and genius level intelligence. Because they were unable to make him equal he was put in prison. He escaped from prison and discarded all of handicaps. He appeared on live television during a ballet recital that his parents were watching they briefly recognized him before their handicaps stopped them.
Harrison proclaimed himself emperor and took one of the ballerinas and empress. They danced briefly before being killed by the Handicapper General who is in charge of all the handicaps. What Harrison did is the very problem with giving government too much power. When ever the government receives too much power there are idealists who would rebel. In Harrison Bergeron Harrison was the idealist. The problem was that the government kept everyone else down so much there were no followers to follow his rebellion. The other problem with government oppression leading to a revolution is mans lust for power.
How long will it be before an idealist becomes an emperor and an emperor becomes a tyrant? Then it all goes around in a circle. History repeats itself and the cycle begins again. That is exactly what Harrison did in Harrison Bergeron. He proclaimed himself to be emperor of at the very least the country. Though there is no proof he would have become a tyrant he conceivably had the power to do anything he wanted. Tyrants create oppression which creates rebels which creates revolution which creates Tyrants and the cycle repeats. So, in conclusion, a government with do much power is a failure of the people and the idealist who created it.