Should The Government Portrayed In The Handmaid's Tale

Peter Ludlow, the New York Times article author, expresses his uncertainty on living in a “country that would look more like North Korea than America.” The reason why Ludlow would express such a statement is that America is way too quick to trade freedom for the illusion of security. Then as well, what is known as the bloodcurdling terrorists cannot take away public freedoms nor can they reduce public liberties. Yet, the public allows the government to do the terrorists’ job which causes the greatest harm to the people. In the book, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Offred serves as a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian government that has replaced the democratic United States of America. Due to a low reproduction rate, …show more content…
In Higgs’s view, “Sometimes the government, as if seeking to fortify the mythology with grains of truth, does protect people in this fashion- even the shepherd protects his sheep, but he does so to serve his interest. And when the time comes, he will shear or slaughter them as his interest dictates.” The allusion to a shepherd makes his argument even more compelling. Governments claimed to protects its people from both external attacks and internal disorders. Yet, the government also “slaughters” everyone when in the situation which serves his own interest. Fear effectively motivates “the creation of a social contract in which citizen cede their freedoms to the sovereign.” (Higgs) The Handmaid’s Tale also comes into play which the Republic of Gilead imposes security and better quality life to exchange for the surrender of public freedoms. But people will endure oppression willingly as long as they receive some slight amount of power or freedom. This also connects to my argument earlier. A vivid example of fear is terrorism. Terrorism is a form of external attacks which everyone fears. The official warnings of possible forms of terrorist attacks serve the same purpose as keeping people ‘vigilant’ and ‘willing to pour enormous amounts of their money into the government’s bottomless budgetary pits of ‘defense’ and ‘homeland security.” Higgs’s argument clarifies the view that despite the few incidents of actual terrorist attacks, other warnings are only serving the benefits of government. When there are incidents of terrorist attacks, the media always enthusiastically jump right into anything that helps to receive the public attention. Supported by Higgs’s argument,“By keeping the population in a state of artificially heightened apprehension, the government-cum-media prepares the ground for planting specific measures of taxation, regulation, surveillance, reporting, and other invasions of the

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