From the Editor; October 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by Mariette DiChristina; 1 Page(s)
"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."
In the opening of the classic 1961 short story "Harrison Bergeron," novelist Kurt Vonnegut depicted a future in which people who had been born superior in some way over "average" people could not use those gifts to take "unfair" advantage. The strong lugged handicapping weights, the beautiful wore hideous masks and the clever were not permitted to think for stretches longer than 20 seconds or so. "A little mental handicap radio" transmitted earsplitting sounds such as a buzzer, a 21-gun salute or a ball-peen hammer striking a milk bottle. In response, "thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm."