Once a society elects the government they classify as “ideal,” the government that establishes authority will have the ability to set harsh restrictions against the citizens who supported them without any knowledge on their plans. To demonstrate how sinful he has been, Equality describes the kind of life people conform
There has been a drastic change in the way we perceive the world and this can alter the way we see each other. We tend to jump onto a bandwagon because it seems easiest or because of one personal scenario. This is one of the main causes for prejudice and injustice. How a person reacts to being oppressed may bring out another side of them, but this side is their true self. This reaction speaks of his or her morals, ethics, and values. To these people, all the perpetrators appear the same, but it is known that while some may easily go along with it, some may choose to stand above it all. The concepts referenced to earlier will be soon elaborated on in further analysis as this essay goes on.
Published (2001) in RACE, GENDER & CLASS, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 23-33, special issue on Marxism and Race, Gender & Class. It is posted here with permission of Jean Belkhir, Editor
One major link includes the fight between an oppressed group and their persecutors. Whether it’s the proletariat and the bourgeois in “The Communist Manifesto,” or the inequality of genders in “The Second Sex,” or the flight of the African Americans in the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. In all of these texts we are shown how easy it is for one group to abuse their power and create unfair rules and regulations only imposed on the more inferior members of society. Each group of oppressor thrives off of alienating, and subjugating their inferiors.
The short story ‘Harrison Bergeron’, Written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and the novel ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry both share a theme of forced equality and uniformity. Both stories take place in dystopian worlds. Woven throughout both of the stories are, authority is forcing egalitarianism onto citizens because they want an indefectible civilization. In the short story Harrison Bergeron, the world is ruled by Handicap General were in The Giver the world is ruled by the Elders, so that the community would be equal. But in both stories the protagonist goes against the community to break the peace and gain freedom and demonstrates how the authority always doesn’t know the best.
The collectivist society in which Equality 7-2521 lives is similar to the Nazi and Communist states of the twentieth century. It is controlled like the society in “The Giver.” The rulers of this society do not permit any individual to think freely. They must think they are nothing. “We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the state. Amen.”(21).
Equality is something we humans crave for when we are in a time of hardship. When we are being discriminated against, we feel the utmost pain and the need for freedom. Discrimination has lingered since the beginning of time, and ending it is impracticable. A French novelist, Honore de Balzac proclaims, “Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact.” Here, Balzac is acknowledging that an individual is born a free man and is just as equal as any other man. But, an individual will never be fully equal as they desire. Some parts of society will try to act superior to a certain quality of someone’s life, like their race, religion, culture, etc. This statement proves to be valid in Khaled Hosseini’s novel,
Equality is pushed upon each citizen. But with this equality, comes aforementioned characteristics: submission, hopelessness, detachedness, conformity, and isolation. Superiority is punished. As written in chapter I, "It is not good to be different from our brothers, but it is evil to be superior to them" (21). In this way, uniqueness is repressed when it should be
Imagine living in a place where all your freedom, rights, and skills were taken away from you. You can't pick important things like your job, your spouse, and your name. You have to wear “handicaps” so you aren't better than anyone else. If you don’t follow the rules, you die. In literature, a lot of societies like this come from the desire for equality. Although many times some equality is a good trait to have in a society, complete equality can lead to a dystopia. Two stories called “Anthem” by Ayn Rand and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut illustrate how complete equality can lead to no individuality.
Equality in society means everyone is the same, in personal attributes as well as public living. However, extreme measures of interpreting equality in this way destroys individuality. Imagine all people being “equal in every which way”, including intelligence, physical means, talents, and appearance. In the dystopian short story, Harrison Bergeron, by Kurt Vonnegut, the shift in tone, selection of details, and symbolic use of handicaps demonstrate that no society can be totally equal without the sacrifice of the individual and self expression.
This is important because inequality causes unrest and brings about interminable turmoil which can eventually lead to a collapse of a regime or a state. If every human being is given equal opportunities then the outcome after those opportunities were presented, whether it was success of failure, fully rests upon the individual’s shoulders. In case of failure, the government or any other individual would not be held accountable.
Everyone is equal and those that fight that system are jailed. There is no such thing as equity, such a word is shamed and frowned upon by the believers of the society and the government controlling them. The government stripped them from their individual rights and basic freedoms, and instead gave them an ironfist rule of law. Those who are more skilled than others are given various handicaps to prevent them from getting too intelligent or too strong. “Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better-looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else….The strong wore weights to make them weaker; the intelligent wore earpieces that kept them from taking unfair advantage of their brains” (2081 1). Their government has no room for any human rights whatsoever. No room for any other form of government other than a dictatorship; which differs substantially from the modern world government of a republic democracy. The modern society government, which all americans run under, is a balance between the people and those that run the country. “We the People” it states in the first line of the Constitution, expressing the idea that the government and its people must have some sort of interaction to be able to function. Modern government has a much more looser term of equality, rather it has the words “equal opportunity”, laced in between words of free speech and religion. Modern society uses
In any case, individuals within society become oppressed as higher-ranked groups control their lower class counterparts. The five characteristics that pertain to human oppression become defined in Plumwood’s essay as: radical exclusion, homogenization, denial, incorporation, and instrumentalism. Radical exclusion refers to the separating of men as the “One” and women as the “Other.” Furthermore, this term means that the qualities of women become
According to Marxism, there is a struggle or conflict between individual rights and social rights. In many regards, Marxism places more emphasis on societal rights than it does on individual rights. In fact, some critics even state that Marxism ignores the rights of the individual altogether. As can be observed when Marxism is implemented under the umbrella of communism. However, Marxism takes into account the inequality and unfairness that exists in society. The inevitable truth is that contrasting groups in society will always conflict with one another and will be unable to agree on the way in which resources should be distributed. Furthermore, there is also a difference between genders, specifically in terms of the equity of how the roles