Re: [OPE-L] Kurt Vonnegut's humanism was popular in the Soviet Union

From: Charlie (charles1848@SBCGLOBAL.NET)
Date: Thu Apr 26 2007 - 00:46:09 EDT

...the seminal short story "Harrison Bergeron" showed how egalitarianism
could turn into tyranny.

You can read the story in five minutes. It's at

The story is not about egalitarianism, or else it is about an
"egalitarianism" that no one espouses under that label.

The egalitarianism that I, and presumably nearly everyone on OPE-L,
imagine gives everyone equal means to live a human life. It expects not
a dull sameness, and certainly not a reduction of everyone to lowest
common denominator, but a flowering of achievement in a billion
different directions.

Here's a link and a couple of phrases from an online commentary that
also rejects the judgment that Vonnegut's story is about a tyranny of

The politics of Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron"
By Darryl Hattenhauer
Critical Essay Studies in Short Fiction,  Fall, 1998

He [Vonnegut] said in a commencement speech at Bennington College, "I
suggest that you work for a socialist form of government ... It isn't
moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all. They have it in Sweden." In
an address at Wheaton College, he even quoted Karl Marx approvingly:
"From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs."
When asked in an interview how he would have campaigned against Nixon,
he responded, "I would have set the poor against the rich."

...America's form of egalitarianism: anti-intellectual leveling.

-Charles Andrews

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