WINNER: TOP 25 LIBERTARIAN FILMS
In a future America, all exceptional human intelligence and achievement is stamped out in order to eliminate the destructive consequences of envy. [Dir: Bruce Pittman/ Sean Astin, Miranda De Pencier, Christopher Plummer/ 99 min/ Drama, SciFi-Fantasy/ Equality & Envy, Individualism & Independence]
Teacher: “What is the first article of the new American Constitution?” Student: “That all men are not created equal. It’s the responsibility of the government to render them so.” Based on that law, the population here is subjected to a variety of dumbing-down measures, including: electronic implants, brain surgery, and even boring television. Few would defend such a projected world, and that is what makes this film so useful. It shows in the extreme the undesirability of what is currently being done on a smaller scale.
In particular, how different is the effect of deliberately discouraging exceptional thought from the effect of imposing on the population a one-intellectual-size-fits-all public school system? How different is it from the effect of “progressive” taxation, which financially straps the successful to subsidize the less successful?
Of course, the motivations of those who set up this ultra-egalitarian society are well intended—to eliminate from human relations the tendency toward aggression based on envy. But ironically, it takes even more extreme aggression to eliminate the inequality that gives rise to envy in the first place. This is seen early on, with the televised execution of tax evaders, and police raids on houses of “intellectual repute” where deep conversations and mind-stimulating games take place.
For a cinematic attack on enforced equality, you could hardly do better than this wonderful film. It fully articulates the price of enforced equality, in terms of both lost liberty and of those accomplishments that inequitably great people make possible. Based on a Kurt Vonnegut story, it has an imaginative and thought-provoking quality. This is a moving and stimulating experience, and one of the most dead-on libertarian films ever made.
External Reviews of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron
“Harrison Bergeron is a real gem.”
–Sci-Fi Movie Page
“A well-scripted, well-designed adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s science fiction story…Your attention will be gripped as the story follows a perilous path through a web of romance and sinister politics to its dramatic conclusion.”