deus ex macchiato

Fabian Bazant-Hegemark's blog

The best for our children

Without any doubt, parents want what is best for their kids. There have to be some major fuck ups for that to not be the case. Even when parents would want their children to learn a lesson from something, or to go through some ordeal or another, they usually want that because they believe that it will benefit their kid. Heck, I'd even argue that people who think it is okay to hit their children think that this is something they have to do to fix something.

Now, I don't have children of my own, which is why I wouldn't allow myself to tell parents how to live their life - to a certain extent. But there are good reasons to do a) or b) or c) for certain behavior, and while rules don't always apply, I am pretty sure there are certain things you absolutely shouldn't do and others that you really, really should if you have the benefit of the next generation in mind.

A friend started a Austrian sign language (Österreichische Gebärdensprache, ÖGS) course earlier this year, and in many discussions and conversations she made aware of the things she experienced and realized on her educational journey.

Today she made me aware of a legal dispute that's running it's course in Germany right now, where the chief physician of an ENT clinic got child protective services involved because the parents would not agree to a medical procedure he deemed necessary. The condition the two-year-old suffers from is being deaf - the procedure is to implant a Cochlear device. In a post the sign language translator Karin Kestner implies that this decision could have huge impact on the deaf community. She also compares this to the situation of Olivia Pilhar, which is kind of fucked up, but beside the point.

The deaf community is one that has been shat on for a very long time. It wasn't until very, very recently - and still isn't the norm - that deaf children are not simply put into classes for mentally disabled students but taught to sign. Sign language itself was prohibited to be used in schools until the last century, forcing kids to sit on their hands to stop them from talking. There still isn't one German sign language, but several very local dialects (e.g., my friend learned the Viennese Austrian Sign language. She tells me that there are difficulties communicating with people that learned the same Austrian Sign Language in Graz - a mere 2 hour drive away) and even varying national "accepted" languages, just because the communities were forced to remain small and kept from organizing.

There apparently is also the issue that Cochlear Implants don't magically make you hear, they just improve your hearing partially, depending on the grade of your capability. There is a nice simulation for hearing people on Youtube

So: holy fuck am I happy not to sit on any Board of Ethics on this. On the one hand, maybe two years ago I would have argued that it is silly to stop your kid from having this very important operation and stop it from hearing, like a "normal" child. How could you be against that?

I am someone who would go as far as to have certain inocculations and vaccinations mandatory for certain occupation groups, so how is this different? How could you be against your kid having an advantage that you didn't have? How could you possible put any value on your heritage and culture, when your kid could have it so much better! Oh. Right.

There is an absolute benefit in not alienating an infant from their parents. Imagine parents and their kids not speaking the same language. Shit like that happened before. We should be beyond this discussion by now.

What do you think? Where do you stand on this? I'd love to read your mails, tweets or Telegram messages.