My partner woke up in the middle of the night last night worrying about the Coronavirus. He wasn’t worried about catching it, me catching it, or buying toilet paper. He was worried about books.
“All the books are going to be online.” He said to me this morning as we were lying in bed, propped up side-by-side, drinking coffee and watching the cats harass squirrels raiding the bird feeders attached to the windows.
“Before long books will all be digital and with one key stroke somebody like Trump can change them, change them just like that.”
“There won’t be any need to burn books anymore.” I said.
“There won’t be any need to burn books.”
It’s not surprising that people like us are worrying about books during this Coronavirus crisis. The Trump administration is quietly reaching out the evil fingers of authoritarianism all over the social order. I can almost feel them burrowing their way underneath the covers of the bed every night.
In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban did not seize power. The Hungarian Parliament handed it over to him by passing a new law that gives him broad powers supposedly to deal with the Coronavirus. There is no end date set for these expanded powers and others are so concerned that they are calling for the EU to expel Hungary.
Orban, who has bragged about being the champion of “illiberal democracy” now has the power to jail people who publicize what are viewed as untrue or distorted facts which could alarm people. No by-elections can be held as long as the law remains in force. The government has the power to suspend laws.
The new rules can only be lifted with a two-thirds vote of the parliament AND A PRESIDENTIAL SIGNATURE.
Tell me that’s comforting.