Of course, the evergreen fruit of Envy is always severe inequality – All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others.
Anytime we have a self-proclaimed dictatorship of the proletariat acting in the name of making things equal for the people, you inevitably get a wealthy and isolated nomenklatura lording over the people in luxury, and terrorizing any kulak who dares complain.
Today, the concept of equality seems to lack meaning. Even some well-read conservatives and committed Christians find it impossible to grasp the meaning of the term, no matter how often or how clearly one defines it.
For the Left “equality” means “envy”– no man can be better than I, none wiser, none more wealthy, none more talented — except when it means “pride” — the craving of Lucifer to place his throne above God.
For the sane, “equality” means no legal privileges awarded to the ruling class by birth not also afforded to clergy, gentry, or peasantry.
This means that a law forbidding trespass equally prevents trespass into the hovel of a peon as into the mansion of a millionaire, and that law against theft equally prevents a pauper from stealing a penny as a prince from stealing a fortune. If a knight may bear arms, so may a knave. And so on.
Equality means no class system, no ranks, awarded by birth rather than by merit.
Envy means no millionaires, no mansions, no fortunes, and, to accomplish this, no pennies and no hovels either. You will own nothing and be happy, slave.
For the sane, “equality” does not mean, has never meant, and cannot mean what the communists take it to mean: no man may differ from any other in any way, shape, or form that any other might envy.
For the Left, it is illegal for a boy to be taller and stronger than a girl, and thoughtcrime to think otherwise.
HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
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.
Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.
It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.
George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about.
On the television screen were ballerinas.
A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.
“That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did,” said Hazel.
“Huh” said George.
“That dance-it was nice,” said Hazel.
“Yup,” said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. But he didn’t get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.
George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.
Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.
“Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer,” said George.
“I’d think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds,” said Hazel a little envious. “All the things they think up.”
“Um,” said George.
“Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?” said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. “If I was Diana Moon Glampers,” said Hazel, “I’d have chimes on Sunday-just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion.”
“I could think if it was just chimes,” said George.
“Well-maybe make ’em real loud,” said Hazel. “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General.”
“Good as anybody else,” said George.
“Who knows better than I do what normal is?” said Hazel.
“Right,” said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.
“Boy!” said Hazel, “that was a doozy, wasn’t it?”
It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor and were holding their temples.
“All of a sudden you look so tired,” said Hazel. “Why don’t you stretch out on the sofa, so you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch.” She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck. “Go on and rest the bag for a little while,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re not equal to me for a while.”
George weighed the bag with his hands. “I don’t mind it,” he said. “I don’t notice it anymore. It’s just a part of me.”
“You been so tired lately-kind of wore out,” said Hazel. “If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few.”
“Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out,” said George. “I don’t call that a bargain.”
“If you could just take a few out when you came home from work,” said Hazel. “I mean you don’t compete with anybody around here. You just sit around.”
“If I tried to get away with it,” said George, “then other people’d get away with it-and pretty soon we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?”
“I’d hate it,” said Hazel.
“There you are,” said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?”
If Hazel hadn’t been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn’t have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.
“Reckon it’d fall all apart,” said Hazel.
“What would?” said George blankly.
“Society,” said Hazel uncertainly. “Wasn’t that what you just said?
“Who knows?” said George.
The television program was suddenly interrupted by a news bulletin. It wasn’t clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, “Ladies and Gentlemen.”
He finally gave up and handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.
“That’s all right-” Hazel said of the announcer, “he tried. That’s the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred-pound men.
And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. “Excuse me-” she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.
“Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen,” she said in a grackle squawk, “has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.”
A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.
The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever been born with heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind but to give him whanging headaches besides.
Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.
And to offset his good looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random.
“If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, “do not – I repeat, do not – try to reason with him.”
There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.
Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.
George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have – for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. “My God-” said George, “that must be Harrison!”
The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.
When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.
Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood – in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.
“I am the Emperor!” cried Harrison. “Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!” He stamped his foot and the studio shook.
“Even as I stand here” he bellowed, “crippled, hobbled, sickened – I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!”
Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.
Harrison’s scrap-iron handicaps crashed to the floor.
Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall.
He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealing a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.
“I shall now select my Empress!” he said, looking down at the cowering people. “Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!”
A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.
Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear and snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last, of all, he removed her mask.
She was blindingly beautiful.
“Now-” said Harrison, taking her hand, “shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!” he commanded.
The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. “Play your best,” he told them, “and I’ll make you barons and dukes and earls.”
The music began. It was normal at first-cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.
The music began again and was much improved.
Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.
They shifted their weights to their toes.
Harrison placed his big hands on the girl’s tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.
And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!
Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion were as well.
They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.
They leaped like deer on the moon.
The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it.
It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it.
And then, neutralising gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.
It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.
Diana Moon Glampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.
It was then that the Bergerons’ television tube burned out.
Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.
George came back in with the beer, and paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. “You been crying,” he said to Hazel.
“Yup,” she said.
“What about?” he said.
“I forget,” she said. “Something real sad on television.”
“What was it?” he said.
“It’s all kind of mixed up in my mind,” said Hazel.
“Forget sad things,” said George.
“I always do,” said Hazel.
“That’s my girl,” said George. He winced. There was the sound of a rivetting gun in his head.
“Gee – I could tell that one was a doozy,” said Hazel.
“You can say that again,” said George.
“Gee-” said Hazel, “I could tell that one was a doozy.”
In order to hold, equality in law must have a foundation in some form of equality in fact. For instance, we do not grant equality under the law to chimpanzees, because chimpanzees are not equal to human beings in fact, at least not in any way that is relevant to law.
Human beings are manifestly unequal in fact in every material sense, and necessarily so, because that is the nature of matter. However, we are equal in the spiritual sense, in that we are all in fact rational animals made in the Image of God, and thus to unjustly harm another human being is to equally violate the Image of God regardless of that person’s physical attributes.
The Left, however, denies all of the spiritual aspects of man, seeing human beings as mere meat automatons to be programmed and engineered to perfection by the “march of history towards progress” and “enlightened” elites or what have you. However, they remain obsessed with equality, citing it as their primary goal and using it as their main rhetorical weapon.
Since the Left denies the existence of the only sense in which human beings are or even can be equal, they are instead forced to affirm,(absurdly) that all human beings are materially equal in every way (except of course for those who more equal than others), or at least that we are born that way, and that all inequalities in outcome are therefore the result of some sort of injustice.
In this way, they are able to delude themselves that women are naturally as physically strong as men but only end up smaller and weaker as adults everywhere in the world because of patriarchal social constructs or whatever. And also that women don’t objectively exist at all, but are only considered “women” because of the “gender assigned at birth” arbitrarily by bigoted doctors. And also that buggery is equally capable of creating the same and nurturing families to raise children as a real marriage. And so on and so forth.
I have heard it said:
“Free men are Never Equal,
and Equal men are Never Free”
Have you noticed that our Political Royalty, MSM, demoncrats, and Abusive Public Servants have all replaced the word “Equality” with the word “Equity”
They may sound similar, but one of them is quite evil.
Equity is a malleable word that means whatever those who consider themselves to be our betters say that it means. It allows every abuse, every immoral decree, and every changing whim to be accommodated for the sake of those who would rule (instead of represent).
NewSpeak is DoublePlus Good. My overseer says so.
“Equity”, yet another term coopted by those in society who demand we bend to their chaotic prescription.
A lot of depth this morning, LL. Scary stuff happening all around…yet as Believers we have the correct path to follow.
The enemy wants power and one thing that they’re using to purchase power is the promise to the envious that people like YOU can be looted and what you own can be divided like spoils on the basis of equity.
My mom didn’t breast feed me so I want your new pick-up truck, etc.
Times certainly have changed…right off the cliff. Salvageable? Possibly. But when they demand your kid gets pumped full of (52 at last count) so-called vaccines to attend school, and now want to put some mRNA device in them with known death toll consequences…somethings seriously amiss.
Unfortunately I have yet to receive my Hydra-6 for the new Entryway deterrent. Guess I’ll have to invoke the Castle Rule if and when any scumbags breech th outer gates an decide they want what I have been blessed. Come and get it boys, try as you might. Note: My neighbor brought his backhoe over the other day, dug me a hole for one of the horses who may not make it through the Winter. (It is necessary stewardship, and suffering for the innocent in unacceptable.)…I would make an exception for its use.
I hope you didn’t pay in advance for that Hydra 6….
Yeah but….I got it on sale, saved a bunch!
Have you noticed that “Equal opportunity” was replaced with “Equal outcomes” so subtlety that we didn’t notice until after it was a fait accompli?
Affirmative action which equates to unequal opportunity has been a buzzword for a long time. I’ve dealt with those situations in a management capacity for years. The thumb was on the scale where inner city people, competing for jobs had a dramatically unfair advantage over non-aggrieved categories of people – equality of outcome. You’d have to score 100 on a test as a male, non-aggrieved person to be considered whereas a female inner-city person from an aggrieved demographic only needed to score 40. Performance in the job is followed in predictable ways. But it’s very woke.
Until we have East Asians as starting linebackers in the NFL, and as NBA centers, there will be no justice.
The thing is that a tiny linebacker will get his yellow butt killed, so THAT problem is self-solving. A 75-IQ moron as a structural engineer or as a surgeon gets other people killed.
In other justice and equity news, I note with interest that the Parkland shooter’s PD gave the finger to the court at large, and specifically to the grieving parents. In the low-res photo I first saw, I thought “Damned if that doesn’t look like Admiral Rachel Levine.” Does ugliness make people hateful?  Or does being hateful make you ugly?
 hell yes ugliness leads to hatefulness (resentment). Or more precisely, thinking that you yourself are ugly, or that even worse, you’re actually beautiful but the evil world calls you ugly because of evil northern Euro (and classic Hellenic) beauty standards. Evil evil evil standards.
The SCOTUS is poised to strike down Aff-Act.
Hopefully, somebody will pay attention.
They told NYC to issues permits so they made the city a gun free zone.
They told the Pennsylvania acting SOS Shall means Shall and she replied it means Maybe when it comes to undated ballots.
But if it’s a ruling in their favor, Submit!
When elected officials, tasked with upholding the law, blatantly defy a lawful ruling, and when nothing happens to convict them of contempt, then what is the recourse?
To the mattresses?
Yup…then they’ll cry for their mama with hair on fire, “No fair!, No Fair!”.
To which I say, “Tough darts Buttercup.”
The tenth commandment, as I learned it:
לֹא תַחְמֹד בֵּית רֵעֶךָ לֹא תַחְמֹד אֵשֶׁת רֵעֶךָ וְעַבְדּוֹ וַאֲמָתוֹ וְשׁוֹרוֹ וַחֲמֹרוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר לְרֵעֶךָ
thou shalt not crave, desire, covet what thy companion, neighbor, others in your family, community, (even enemies or others outside your immediate community?) have or enjoy or have been given by their family, community, or even G-d.
Or, in other words, Do Not Plan To Take (whatever it is) Away From Them as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. points out so well. (BTW: TNX! I had forgotten that story – and thank you very much for the sermon[ette]; it’s certainly better than the ones I get in schul, when I go.)
It’s the planning (more commonly defined today as Jealousy), the thought, that’s evil, as G-d has defined “EVIL” for us.
It the action of doing so that’s the sin.
I learned it as “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass….”
So there’s the biblical injunction against homosexuality right there. “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s ass.” Can’t be made plainer than that.
An oldie but a real groaner. Someone had to say it. Try the veal, and be sure to tip generously.
Thank you for stepping up and reminding us not to covet the neighbor’s ass… As you said, somebody was bound to do it.
Who would have thought that Kurt Vonnegut would be such an accurate prophet. A lot of meaning in a very short story.
I am a fan of equal opportunity. The effort required to achieve something has a tendency to better ourselves and others around us. Sometimes that betterment is more valuable than what we were actually trying to achieve.
Equality and equity have been co-opted and now mean whatever the liberal de jour wants it to mean.
He missed it big on Player Piano.
As Uncle Ellis said to Ed Tom in No Country for Old Men, “What you got, ain’t nothin’ new.” Somewhat more thoroughly discussed by Amity Shlaes in her book The Forgotten Man about FDR’s alleged “administration” of the Great Depression.
We shall never achieve “equity” with an armed population. Criminals? Just poor people striving for equity in an oppressive society.
There is only equality if WE choose it. The left sure as hell won’t! Your little short is a telling indicator of what the left would love to do, AND the way they would enforce it!
I remember reading Harrison Bergeron as a kid, and thinking is was silly slapstick.
I have grown old enough to sometimes long for the ignorance of my youth.
Maybe innocence rather than ignorance?
I remember being forced to read Slaughterhouse Five when I was young. I remember being deeply resentful about it because the teacher (who was not particularly bright nor deep, come to think of it) asserted that Vonnegut was a) a genius, b) SH5 was “good” science fiction. Maybe I need to give Vonnegut another try. But I have a feeling that Vonnegut is not for me — just on general principles of “anyone so lionized by the critics (most of whom are weird) must have something wrong with him”.
I get that it’s a farcical allegory or something, but at face value, Harrison’s mistake was rubbing their noses in his superiority. The true revolutionary takes over from within. Look at our own society. It’s not Western and hasn’t been since at least the 1940’s. It’s the dystopian dream of The Frankfurt School, the Marxists, the Freudians, the currency speculators and the middlemen. And superiority isn’t necessary. In what rational universe do dysgenic and psychologically damaged little freaks (eg Fauci, ADM Levine, etc) get so much prominence and power?
Cat’s Cradle is pretty good.
When I was an undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, I took an elective – Science Fiction Literature. The Prof knew Ray Bradbury and had him come in as a guest lecturer. He seemed to be very introverted and even intimidated by the 10 or so students in the class. I don’t remember anything about the class other than meeting Bradbury and reading something by Ursula LeGuin. Classics stand the test of time.
A friend of mine was at U of M when Vonnegut came to lecture.
Vonnegut was quoted as he left, “I wish someone had brought me a carton of Pall Malls.”
My friend was bummed out to find out that that was all it would have taken to meet the man and he didn’t know/do it.
I miss knowing little enough about Human nature to understand that there’s no bottom, and something like Harrison Bergeron, which seemed to warn of something so obviously stupid and evil that nobody would ever consider it, would one day be taken as an instruction manual.
IIRC, Harrison Bergeron was first published in 1967.
I read it in high school.
A few years ago one of the grandkid’s hubby’s was telling me about “Harrison Bergeron”. He was quite proud of being introduced to the story in grad school.
It kind of took the wind out of his sails when I paraphrased the story back to him (I did forget a ” double-barreled ten gauge shotgun was used. I remembered it as a twelve gauge).
Grandkid-in-law, without benefit of adult beverages, sings “Ring of Fire” at family get togethers in a voice that puts paid to Johny Cash’s version, but I have always been partial to June’s version only accompanied by her plucking a dulcimer or some other simple stringed instrument.
The grandkid-in-law has family roots in Norway and one evening I shared the story of the lone Viking’s stand at Stamford’s Bridge.
All the college education has laid a veneer of civilization on his Viking DNA, but should you move to harm his baby girl the old Blood will rise and wash that veneer from his large frame as it blinds his eyes in rage.
Incidently. LL, there are places near where he lives that have dojos , for lack of a better word, to learn and practice tomahawk and hand axe throwing. He has exceptional eye-hand coordination and an ability to focus on a target. He is strangely attracted to this form of entertainment despite his liberal parentage and college education.
Go figure? Huh?
When I found out he was frequenting such un-wholesome places and associating with violent people, and practicing with dangerous weapons…I,of course, pawed through the weapons locker and gave him a Cold Steel Viking axe.
Oh, and he makes a ton of money as a chemical engineer.
Oh, and his liberal parents named him, “Leif”.
How did they think that was going to work out?
DNA will out. The double helix is a monster, isn’t it?
Whenever I drive to my FIL’s through Kalamazoo towards Grand Rapids, there are billboards advertising an axe throwing school.
Never open when I go through, but someday….
What a good sermon! And KV’s value.
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