by Ric Ottaiano
October 18, 2006 

There has been an ongoing protest at Gallaudet University over the installment of a new university president. Gallaudet is the country’s only liberal arts college for the deaf and what is being asserted in this dispute is very revealing of what is happening in our larger society. Specifically, it is an example of the multiculturalist ethic carried to its logical extreme and the concommitant inability to make any sort of value judgment.

Many of the student protestors don’t consider the president-to-be quite “deaf enough.” What am I talking about? Well, if you haven’t followed this story, and related earlier ones, you probably have not heard about what is called “deaf culture.”

The student body president said, “I definitely feel she’s been too friendly, catering to the technology sector of the hearing world that wants to help deaf people hear.”

Another student said, “There is pain and fear that some day in the future there may be very few deaf people because there are so many forces that are driving a change for deaf people.”

And another asserted, “We don’t look at deafness as a sickness. We see deafness as a blessing. There are people who want to lose deafness. That if you can’t hear, you can’t be successful. That’s crap.”

These folks do not want anyone to try through technology or otherwise to remedy hearing loss with, for example, the cochlear implant. They identify their disability (and, yes, that’s what it is) as creating a “culture” to which they belong and which is no better or worse than any other “culture.” Hence, the application of the multicultural pap that no culture in any respect is superior to any other and therefore any effort to in any way change that culture is illigitimate.

But these people are, quite frankly, ridiculous and misguided. It is better to be able to hear than to be deaf. It is more desirable to be able to listen to Mozart, or to hear your child’s voice, than to not. This is an obvious truth that can only be debated in left wing quarters, or at any university.

The mistake is conflating the inferiority of the trait or quality itself with the inferiority of the person with that trait or quality. No one is saying that the deaf person is less desirable, or of less value. However the fact is that deafness itself is less desirable than the opposite, which is the ideal.

Allow me to go out on a limb here and equate this with one of the aspects of the debate over homosexuality since there is a very fundamental similarity between the two. When I and many others say that heterosexuality is preferable to homosexuality, we are not saying that heterosexual persons are preferable to gay and lesbian persons. There are absolutely lovely persons who happen to be gay while there are obviously terrible persons who are heterosexual, and vice versa.

The point is that ideals exist such as being able to hear, being able to have a loving relationship with a member of the opposite sex, that are preferable to the alternatives. And that remains so even though there are persons who cannot achieve that ideal.

UPDATE: If you have been following this story, check out this site by a student at Gallaudet who is keeping everyone up to date on the goings-on.

[This article can also be found at Release The Hounds!]

Be Sociable, Share!