5/11/10

2081: Everyone is finally equal



I've not yet seen this film, but it looks really intriguing. The tyranny of absolute egalitarianism; when good intentions bring the world to hell. 'Equality' is an easy thing for us to rally around; it is one of our most sacred values in the US (and Europe), but might it - could it - come into conflict with 'Liberty'? Has it already?

When I was in college one of my political science professors suggested at that American culture never has, and never can, produce a Shakespeare or a Bach precisely because our commitment to egalitarianism nullifies the sort of greatness that was more valued in their more hierarchical societies. I don't know if that is true or not. But worth pondering nonetheless.

Certainly it seems to me that we here in the United States have a sort of 'ingrained' anti-elitism that can, in practice, lead to a dumbing-down of every aspect of our culture. Classical music and opera is bad because it is too 'elite.' The men of every sit-com I've ever seen run in terror when the women try to drag them along to a play. Anyways, I feel a rant coming on...so I'll stop here. But consider the question - do we risk destroying great things, even the human spirit itself, in the pursuit of 'equalization'?

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Kelsey Couvillon said...

I'm pretty sure this is based off a short story I read in high school by Kurt Vonneget "Harrison Bergeron". You should check it out.

5:02 PM, May 11, 2010  
Anonymous Stephen Fife said...

Has America ever produced a Shakespeare or Bach?

What about Twain or Faulkner or Steinbeck come to mind readily as purely American Experience authors.

The main critique I hear of America especially overseas is that we are dumb and lazy and they have a point. Our schools are not set up to inspire creativity but to promote average: graduate and get a job.

There is a spark in America, however, that no other country can match and that is our spirit and opportunity: Think of men like Buffett, Gates, Ford, Rockfeller. I would offer that these men wouldn't have happened in Europe.

In fact the church leaders who are thinking ahead seem to offer that the commodity of the future of the church is creativity

4:01 PM, May 12, 2010  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

I was thinking maybe Poe or John Williams myself. It is hard to measure such things. Probably time alone can tell who the really great ones were. If they are around in 500 years sort of thing.

The orientation of education is a good thing to bring up. C. John Sommerville in his book *The Decline of the Secular University* argues that our higher education system has become little more than a credential factory. An investment of time and money in hopes of a financial return. This has to do with the 'capitalization of everything' in our culture, which, I suspect if we thought about it, we might find to be a factor in the mediocratization of everything in our culture as well.

10:36 AM, May 13, 2010  
Anonymous larry said...

"The men of every sit-com I've ever seen run in terror when the women try to drag them along to a play."

One of the reasons that Frazier was such a great show . . . broke the mold of what an American man might find interesting.

1:04 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger cspogue said...

We are less egalitarian than we have been in our history. Great wealth, athletic skill and celebrity give plenty of recognition.

We need to respect people's basic equality while working to raise the bar.

1:42 PM, May 14, 2010  

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