6-year-old Gage Berger was being bullied by his first grade classmates because he had protruding ears, and was often derided as “Elf Ears.” His Salt Lake City parents decided to address the problem here and now, before, they say, his self-esteem (I almost wrote elf-esteem…) was permanently damaged, so they had his ears de-elfed to look like everyone else’s.
Now he’s bullying other funny-looking kids.
But seriously, folks, the story has aroused a controversy over societal and medical ethics. Did the parents choose plastic surgery too early and for the wrong reasons? Is that how we want society to be, where bullies and critics can pressure individuals to conform to a narrow standard of acceptible appearance? Doesn’t this give them power? Does it not encourage bullying? Is a first-grader old enough to meaningfully weigh these issues? Isn’t this a choice he should make, when he’s old enough to make it?
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today is…