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Conservative to radical right-wing parties always warn against regulation, as otherwise we will end up in a nanny state in which individual responsibility and freedom will be lost. Grant, however, explains that we have been living in a nanny state for decades. With a nanny state that is in thrall to industries from sugar to cars. A nanny who is deliberately killing us as a population because the status quo of the industries is more important than the health of the voters. Even worse: World governments make citizens pay billions to destroy their own health.
Grant points out: Industries are focussing on profits, not killing people. But their highest turnover products ARE killing us, because our politicians are too weak to regulate them for a better future for all.
Grant lifts the lid on the nine devious frames contained within the cross-industry corporate disinformation playbook: through denialism, normalization, victim-blaming, multifactorialism, and a variety of other tried-and-tested tactics, corporations divert citizens’ attention away from the real causes of global problems, leading them into counter-productive blind-alley “solutions” like ethical consumerism and divestment.
Regarding my main topic, Grant explains, how regulations and policies establish the increase of distances between destinations of e. g. work and home, which lead to more car-dependancy and -fatalaties. We came from 15 minutes cities (which are now seen with conspiracy murmur) to a car default sprawl system. The low densitiy tripled car crash deaths and doubled the costs of government. The sprawl lobby from concrete to building houses is a powerful as the rifle lobby in the US. Even cities lost their density. „Funfact“: 1 % rising up of gas prices means 0,4 % less fatal road accidents.
We talked about some of the nine devious frames of misinfomration, Grant is showing in his book. Fraom (denialism – speed does not kill), post-denialism (wide roads & more roads are safe), normalization of road death as „accidents“ instead of crashes up to pseudo solutions that are preserving the status quo e. g. more safety IN cars up to the magic (autonomous cars), treatment trap (ambulances instad of prevention) and victim blaming of jay walking. But the best of all this is: Knowing is changing. Cutting the curtain down and dismantling the lies helps out to increase the pressure on our politicians – from local politics to that of our countries. We need to take to the streets together, not least because the three industries singled out by Grant – sugar, cars and fossil fuels – are so intertwined and similar. We need to strengthen our democracies by seeing ourselves as grassroots politics and rebelling.
“Dark PR is an enjoyable read. Importantly, it brings together a strong analytical view on many of the mechanisms critical to understanding transport and road injury.”
Dr. Marco te Brömmelstroet, Professor, University of Amsterdam