The news from Italy has started to sound like good incipits for a dystopian fantasy novel or like a déjà vu recalling the Soviet Union. A couple of weeks ago, a new decree of the Draghi government established yet more rules restricting the lives of people who have not been injected with the latest vaccine booster and who therefore cannot show the latest version of the Green Pass. These second-class citizens, who have already been stripped of their right to move, work, and participate in a great number of social activities, are now forbidden from entering post offices to withdraw their pension, and they are to be allowed access to supermarkets only to buy “goods of primary necessity.”
In other words, the Italian government decides what kind of food and what other goods (if any) these people will be able to purchase. It is unclear how exactly the government intends to enforce this new decree: Will we see policemen putting their hands into shoppers’ bags? Will bread be considered a “primary” good while shaving foam and candies will be seized?
There is no limit to the madness. And a recent note from the executive to clarify the situation only made things worse: the state now decrees that the unvaccinated can actually also buy nonprimary goods in the few shops they are allowed to enter. For the time being. In other words, Italy is now a society where your sphere of action goes only as far as the prime minister’s website explicitly and graciously allows. Heading out for a stroll at the park? You better check the latest blog post from Mario Draghi to see if he explicitly grants you this freedom!
How did it come to this?
Among Western countries, Italy has been one of those experiencing the most systematic denial of basic civil rights over the past two years. Coalition governments led first by Giuseppe Conte and then by Mario Draghi have empowered an unelected committee of “experts” called the Comitato Tecnico Scientifico, which has in turn empowered the governments by assigning a scientific aura to every decree, every action, and every word coming from the executive.