Is Height a Social Disease?

Linda Silverman's picture

I would like to propose a cure for height. Height is a social construction that provides unfair advantage to tall people. Studies have shown that tall people are favored as leaders, are picked more frequently to play basketball, and can reach things that short people cannot. This makes short people feel inferior. There is no reason why some people are taller than others. The popular press has firmly negated the role of heredity; therefore, no thinking person should assume that heredity has anything whatsoever to do with it. In an egalitarian world, it is important that everyone have equal opportunity for height. Therefore, all children who are above the average height should have reduced nutrition to stunt unseemly growth. If they persist on remaining tall, they should be hidden and not allowed to interact with other children, as their presence may cause undue insecurity in shorter children. Any children below the average height should be given growth hormones until they reach average height. In order to preserve our democratic way of life, it is essential that everyone be average so that everyone has equal opportunity.

 

Linda Leviton added: They should be shamed for their unfair height advantage, so that they learn to minimize it by slouching or staying seated when others stand.

 

Denying heredity, the press touts pills and exercises to enhance growth.

 

Shelagh Gallagher commented: We could reduce the criteria for “tall” so that average height people could be considered tall and we could ignore the difference between those who just meet the criteria and those who pass it by several inches.

 

Tom Kemnitz remarked: You failed to mention that tall people get more clothing for the same price in most shops.

 

If you substitute “intelligence” for “height,” you may begin to examine our society’s core beliefs about high intelligence (giftedness) through a new lens. At the end of the 19th century, brilliant children were, indeed, hidden in their houses. In our zeal to bring up the bottom, we are starving the intellects of the most advanced students. The American press abhors the science of heritability, glorifying “practice, practice, practice.” By blurring the distinction between success and high intelligence, it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is appropriate to “stunt unseemly growth” in order to protect equal opportunity. Success is a race. Intelligence is not.

 

I am far from the first person to satirize the condition of the gifted. See Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s Harrison Bergeron, which begins:

 

“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…”

 

http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

 

Is average really the goal? Or should we be cultivating intellectual diversity as much as cultural diversity?