John Rawls Ideas In Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron

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Pages: 7

John Rawls and Robert Nozick are notorious for their argument over freedom and equality, which is a prevailing theme within Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.” John Rawls argues that society is a system that should facilitate working together for mutual advantage in a socially liberal sense, while Robert Nozick believes in the libertarianism of respecting the natural rights of people, particularly in regards to ownership and property. In this section and the next, I will discuss how Rawls’ ideas set forth in his work “A Theory of Justice” and Robert Nozick’s positions in his “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” affect the debate on whether or not “Harrison Bergeron” demonstrates a perversion of the equality principle.
John Rawls immediately writes in favor of my position that Vonnegut’s dystopia represents a perversion of the equality principle by stating “justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others” (Rawls 3) This means that the rights of a few cannot be removed in order for the many to enjoy their rights. In the context of “Harrison Bergeron,” handicapping the privileged is unacceptable even if it allows the rest of the country to experience a greater
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This is the initial status quo wherein fair fundamental agreements are made (Rawls 11-15) This supports the idea that the equality design in “Harrison Bergeron” is a representation of injustice that cannot exist under the principles of justice as they are understood. It is clear within the short story that the principles of justice were manipulated to favor the underprivileged, which led to the handicapping of those with superior ability. Most important to this debate, however, are Rawls’ principles of justice