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The amazing prejudices that run around in Leslie Cannold’s head

September 29, 2010

The amazing prejudices that run around in Leslie Cannold’s head


After watching the defeat of the pro Euthanasia Bill in the Western Australian parliament some in the community may feel a little disappointed. Others, like myself, are relieved. Leslie Cannold on the other hand belongs to the pro Euthanasia camp along with many other camps of the same ilk.


On September 26 2010 she penned an article for the National Times titled: “In the end, we should have faith in our right to choose.” Seeing the phrase “right to choose” should have been a giveaway to anyone who is familiar with modern slogans. In fact even a quick perusal of Leslie Cannold’s website set the tone of her presupposed academic independence Within a few lines we find a plug for her book called “The Abortion Myth” which in her own words states:

The Abortion Myth
forges a new women-centred abortion ethic capable of preserving a woman’s right to control her body and her freedom to choose or reject motherhood. At the centre of the book are interviews with 45 ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ women. The women who share their stories have no doubt that it is their right to choose abortion.”


Leslie is also:
“…president of Reproductive Choice Australia, a national coalition of pro-choice organisations that played a key role in removing the ban on the abortion drug RU486 in 2006 and of Pro Choice Victoria, which was instrumental in the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria in 2008. She is also a Dying with Dignity ambassador for law reform.”


So much for her independence on the issue and so much the National Times Newspaper exercising reasonable effort to disclose the true agendas loyalties and associations of their regular contributors. Instead all we are offered is “Leslie Cannold Melbourne academic and writer.”


In essence Leslie Cannold is a hard core activist for the abortion and euthanasia. As such we must view everything she says on these matters as partisan. It may even be fair to say that she is deceptively engaging in propaganda by not revealing her presidency of “Reproductive Choice Australia” and her so called “ambassadorship” for “Dying with Dignity law reform“. Note how she used the term “ambassador” when it is more accurately really “activist“. She uses a similar euphemism when dishonestly grouping “pro-life” opinion with “pro-choice” as if to disguise that she has selected only pro-choice (ie: pro-abortion) women as subjects for her pro-abortion book. There is no point in pulling punches with Leslie because she has acted in such a disreputable and underhanded manner. If she has a view, fine, but at least be honest about your activism rather than go to such efforts to disguise it.


Much of Leslie’s article is taken up with condemning religion and any influence that she perceives that it has on her view of what society should represent. Even without the slightest evidence to support her assertion she claim that the only reason people oppose Euthanasia (Voluntary or otherwise) is because of their inherent religious biases. As such Leslie tries to smear religious people as being nothing more than mindless dolts that are incapable of rational thought. This is self serving and circular reasoning on her part where she is basically accusing anyone who does not fit her world view as being either stupid or brainwashed.


Yet more disturbing than Leslie’s willingness to resort to the use of cheap smear tactics and smug self congratulations for being smarter than the millions of religious people is he strange hierarchy of ethics. At the top of her pyramid is the word “choice” whereas the value of a human life plays a very poor second, if that.

“Opponents of dying with dignity will tell you that the core moral principle in a civilised society is respect for life. This is outdated tosh.” Leslie writes.


Since when did “respect for life” become “outdated tosh” and who is she to make that deadly call? The answer comes later in the same paragraph as she continues, “The central moral value in a modern multicultural society is autonomy…” Not only has Leslie vanquished one set of values but has taken it upon herself to dictate what it will be replaced with. “Anarchy,” oops, I mean “autonomy”. This statement may have made sense to Leslie when she wrote it but the result can be an intellectual dog’s breakfast (so to speak). I’m certain Leslie would have imagined limits on her version of “autonomy” but to declare it as the central moral value without so much as asking the rest of society seems to be a tad dictatorial. I only hope that she is benevolent dictator but with her views on the respect for life I have my doubts.


What we can take from the efforts of Leslie Cannold is her willingness to resort writing her own “autonomy” based moral codes and demanding that everyone adheres to. We also know that she hid her activist association when she published her article. Finally we have the example of her willingness to select evidence post-hoc to boost her positions. The candidates she select so called pro-Life pro-Choice candidates for her book The Abortion Myth is a clear example of this kind of intellectual evasiveness.



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