In the Coronavirus Fight, Choice Is Better Than Force

West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis issues a stay-home directive with Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney on Tuesday, April 7, at Fargo City Hall. Dardis said wearing a face mask and gloves is “challenging for me” but that it's necessary to help protect his family. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT, N.D. — One of my favorite books of all time, one which frightened and challenged the 13-year-old version of me, is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

I’m sure you know it. It’s in the canon of great American literature and often cited when discussions turn to issues of free speech.

As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate that one of the terrifying aspects of Bradbury’s story is that it isn’t the state which is perpetrating the censorship.

As Bradbury himself noted, it’s not some cruel dictator or ruling faction which is causing books to be burned. It is the people who are the culprits.

It was something they were doing to themselves.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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