Humans are not created equal. From the moment we are intellectually capable to comprehend our existence, we are taught that we are all unique and special. Although we are all given equal rights and equal capability to exercise those rights under the law as American citizens, we could never be treated exactly the same. This is proven by the understanding that giving everyone the exact same treatment could lead to the unjust treatment of certain groups, as explained in the DeClue vs. The Central Illinois Light Company case, and ultimately to a stalemate in our society as a whole, as explained by the “Harrison Bergeron” short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Biologically speaking, people are born with different capabilities and some demand more from their environment than others. Take those with physical and mental disabilities for example. These specific groups of people tend to need more individualized attention for learning and customized accommodations for transportation. If this particular group were to be treated the same as those without these handicaps, it would make it very difficult for them to physically and mentally move through society.
Another example of how biological needs require diverse treatment comes from the dissent opinion in the DeClue vs. The Central Illinois Light Company case, written by Circuit Judge Rovner. In this case, Rovner sides with the plaintiff, a lone female employee working for a male-dominated electrical company. The judge states that a hostile environmental claim is perfectly capable of being pursued due to the lack of accommodation for an appropriate relief facility for the female worker. In an obvious sense, women are biologically constructed differently than men, and therefore, it is more physically straining for a woman to relieve herself in public than it is for a man: “biology has given men less to do in the restroom and made it much easier for them to do it. If men are less reluctant to urinate outdoors, it is in significantly part because they need only unzip and take aim” [Rovner, 2000]. In conclusion, biological factors play a great role in explaining how and why diverse treatment is essential to keeping a society in harmony.
A society is made up of different people who specialize in distinct areas of knowledge and expertize. It is because of this that humanity continues to progress and develop. If it were not for the differences in interest and intellect among civilians, no new discoveries or inventions would have ever been created. In Kurt Vonnegut’s short story titled “Harrison Bergeron,” the author writes of a world where everyone is treated exactly the same. In order to keep this type of society in tact, the government comes up with a centralized standard on what a “normal” citizen should be like. Each individual who has a unique talent that would make him or her physically or mentally more advanced than this “normal” standard would be supplied with a “handicap” that would restrain them from using this talent. If the citizens of this society were to take their assigned handicaps off, it could result in severe consequences, such as jail time, or in Harrison Bergeron’s case, death. In conclusion, exercising a practice such as this one would be destructive to society. Restricting individuals from expressing their individuality and putting an obscene amount of power into the hands of the government would lead to chaos.
Although we can establish the fact that we, as American citizens, are given equal rights and power to exercise those rights under the law, society is not capable of treating us all exactly the same. We are born with not only biological physical differences, but with intellectual and mental capability differences as well. In order to adjust to our specific individual needs, society creates laws that are broad enough to serve all of the citizens who inhibit it. Law attempts to accommodate an individual’s specific needs without restricting them from certain guaranteed rights. In a sense, we are “equal” as American citizens, but this does not require us to be given exactly the same treatment.