Occupy Wall Street can’t seem to get it’s message unified, even among themselves, but I think that in the minds of many of the more disillusioned participants is a vague vision. One that was put to paper first in 1961 in the pages of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. This vision should terrify you.
“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.”
These words begin Harrison Bergeron , a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The concept so bizarre and inconceivable, that it was published first as a work of fantasy. The idea that government can form an agency whose entire raison d’être is to make every citizen equal, and devise enforcement for such a policy, is the ultimate in crimes against the individual and the death of private innovation and motivation. It is evil empowered – the literal smothering of Ego and will by government sanctioned force.
Yet, isn’t that what the 99% want? Aren’t they vaguely ( or not so, in some cases) suggesting that the government step in and take down the 1%? Aren’t they pining, not to excel and propel themselves out of disparity and helplessness, but to have someone else drag down those who do not share in their misery and lack of motivation? Aren’t they suggesting that their entire base of failure is because of a small number of people who do not define their existence and motivation by socially accepted definitions of limits on success and prosperity? Maybe it isn’t even that deep.. maybe it is pure denial of responsibility and cohesive blame at the nexus of their lashing out without a defined path to resolution. Regardless of the “why”, the “how” that they are driving towards isn’t just the end of the individual and of American Exceptionalism, but also the entire basis of the Great Experiment. It is the end of America as it was intended.
Read Harrison Bergeron in its ten page entirety here and then, for a fantastically terrifying and inspiring adaptation see the trailer for 2081 below ( and then go buy it. YAY, Capitalism!)
** Quick update: I was made aware that the Handicapper General in 2081 is none other than Tammy Bruce! How awesome is THAT? Follow her on twitter here!