Kurt Vonnegut’s classic short story “Harrison Bergeron” is clearly fiction, right? Right?*
Check out this story from ABCNews
A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test.
“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.”
Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.
The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average.
Yeah, we wouldn’t want any way above average, intelligent cops in the precinct, would we? (Just curious: I wonder whether the same practice applies to hiring government bureaucrats. It would explain a lot.)
* “Harrison Bergeron” is very short, but for the time-challenged, the opening conveys the whole point quite well:
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
And here’s the 26-minute film version, starring Julie Haggerty and James Coismo–highly recommended:
Or maybe the right pop culture/movie analogy is “Idiocracy.” Here’s the trailer: