Signs positioned outside public toilets warn of the danger of tripping over signs positioned outside public toilets.
“Danger of death” is my personal all-time favourite warning sign.
But books? I have never seen a health warning on a book. The cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy famously proclaimed DON’T PANIC, but that’s reassurance, not a warning.
Consider this. Freedom of speech means that books may contain almost anything. They can contain all kinds of lies, untruths and distortions of the facts. They may advocate strange and unhealthy diets and practices. They can be stuffed with ignorance, prejudice, hatreds and phobias.
There are even some books that are entirely made up. Look in the “Fiction” section of your local library if you don’t believe me.
Do not doubt the power of books. They are Trojan Horses, smuggling insidious ideas past your critical faculties and directly into your mind. Their deadly payloads of belief systems can transform an innocent person into a racist, xenophobe or suicide bomber. They may cause you to quit your job, give away all your worldly goods and devote your life to helping others. Their impact can be literally catastrophic.
Are books dangerous? You bet! Do they need a warning sign? I think they do.