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It seems like we’re living in a world that has mixed the dystopian narratives of Atlas Shrugged, Idiocracy, and Harrison Bergeron. If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll have noticed train derailments here, banking collapses there, and a bunch of other disastrous events everywhere. What’s happening?
Everything around us could be explained by the excessive pursuit of equality being imposed. Not equality before the law, but through the law.
In Atlas Shrugged, the protagonist fights against a society that tries to level differences among people through egalitarian policies. Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, shows a society where everyone is equal in intelligence, strength, and beauty, thanks to devices that prevent the most talented from standing out. And in the movie Idiocracy, we see a terrifying yet hilarious future where stupidity is the norm.
How have we arrived at this disheartening mixture of dystopias? The pursuit of equality has led us to limit the potential of those who excel in a particular area, by forcing inclusion with quotas of people who simply can’t do their job well.
Let’s turn our attention to the education system. For years, we’ve been told that we all deserve the same education and opportunities. But what about those who have a special talent or ability in a particular subject? Why should they be forced to follow a curriculum that doesn’t allow them to develop their full potential in that area? Moreover, why are we actively fighting against merit —making people believe that they deserve everything just because they exist or belong to a supposedly oppressed minority —without the need for greater effort or personal improvement values?
This pursuit of equality through social engineering has led to mediocrity in society. We’ve been made to believe that we’re all equal, that we all deserve the same, and that we all have the same potential. But the truth is, we’re not all equal. Some are smarter, stronger, more creative, harder working, braver than others. And that’s okay.
Instead of limiting those who excel and giving trophies to everyone just to avoid hurting their feelings, we need a society that celebrates our differences and allows us to bring out the best in ourselves. Instead of trying to make us all the same, we need to recognize that we all have unique abilities and talents and that by encouraging these aspects, we can achieve a more prosperous and just world.
So the next time you see a train derailment or a banking collapse, think about Atlas Shrugged, Idiocracy, or Harrison Bergeron and ask yourself if it’s due to the limitation of our differences and the mediocrity that makes us believe we’re all the same.
If we add to this that we also seem to be living in George Orwell’s 1984, where the government controls every aspect of our lives and censors our opinions, mixed with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where people are happy and content in their ignorance, what future awaits us?
Will we read or live the next and definitive great dystopian futuristic work?
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm