There is a device being used rather often lately by our most vocal lobbyists as they chase new regulation or overturn old rules: ‘Europe’ has banned ‘it’, or done ‘it’, or changed ‘it’, they are telling us, as a reason to reshape our own policies. However, the problem with this form of case-building, just as when our children tell us their friend’s parents allow ‘it’ or have bought ‘it’, is that the comparison comes without circumstantial detail, and with the possibility of being untrue in the way it is presented, or, at the very least, of being irrelevant to our own circumstances. Indeed, few things are more illustrative of those pitfalls than the oft-cited banning of pesticides by Europe. In the ‘one-story-fits-all’ line of case-building, we are told that Europe has banned a mass of pesticides because they result in cancer and reproductive problems in humans. This is painful for experts to witness. For, in our era of short-form information, few non-experts will go and find out the actual truth of what Europe has banned, or why, and what the consequences are. Yet, without that knowledge, we stand in danger of being badly manipulated. A perfect example is a group
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