While attempting to uphold a unique utopian society, the two stories, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, contain ideas that both coincide and clash with the other. Both, for example, depict a totalitarian society that utilizes various forms of mind control in order to enforce similar ideas pertaining to equality, regulation, and conformity in society. And yet, although their political and religious views are alike, the stories also present very different economic and social conditions.
Politically, both societies are run in an autocratic manner. Controlled by technological and medical intervention, everyone is content with their lives and most importantly is “happy”. In Huxley’s Brave New World,
the citizens are designed from birth to adhere to the government"tms policies. Such handicaps include a radio transmitter set in the ears of intelligent people, which emit sharp noises two or three times a minute to prevent sustained thought; weights to stunt speed and strength; and masks, red rubber clown noses, or thick glasses to hide good looks. As a result of Bokanovsky"tms process, predestination, and hypnopaedic conditioning, the class, gender, and intelligence of each person is in the hands of Mustapha Mond and the other nine world leaders. However, for the most part, "Harrison Bergeron" liked to have society where people did not focus too much on one aspect, and therefore did not have a set religion. And so, in both societies, the government believes that happiness can only be achieved with a tyrannical system. In fact, they do not wish to have a set religion. Specific events such as the Solidarity Service prove that citizens in Brave New World use soma to take the place of religion. Brave New World illustrates characters who do everything they can to avoid facing the truth about their own situations. Trying to make everyone equal, anyone who is smarter, prettier, stronger, or basically better than anyone else must be handicapped. This is much like the story of "Harrison Bergeron" where the population is controlled by a select few, otherwise known as the "Handicapper General". Also both societies have very similar religious views. The government directs the main population by limiting everyone"tms intelligence. They are taught that being good and fitting within their chosen class are all it takes to be happy, and that the government will provide everything else. Within the short story, there is reference to religion other than the brief mention that one particular character would set the radio transmitters to play chimes on Sundays.