Hand washing? Really Libertarians?

The latest entry in the “OMG really?” wars is brought to us by the libertarians, who, using the example of the brutal oppression of hand washing regulations, make total fools of themselves.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Bipartisan Policy Center on Monday, Tillis related a story from his tenure in the North Carolina legislature to help explain his overarching philosophy on the finer points of hand-washing.
“I was having this discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,” Tillis said, in remarks first reported by the District Sentinel. “Let an industry or business opt out as long as they indicate through proper disclosure, through advertising, through employment, literature, whatever else. There’s this level of regulations that maybe they’re on the books, but maybe you can make a market-based decision as to whether or not they should apply to you.”
When Tillis’ interlocutor noticed a Starbucks employee coming out of the restroom and inquired whether Tillis would apply his anti-regulation stance to employee hygiene, Tillis affirmed that he would.
“I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says, ‘We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after they use the restroom,’” he said. “The market will take care of that.”

That’s right folks, now pillars of basic public health and sensible regulation to prevent things like typhoid fever or hepatitis A represents an undue burden on businesses serving the public. I guess we should all have to be our own public health department, and upon entry of any business should have to sign a EULA in tiny print freeing them of responsibility if they have filthy food prep areas, warm refrigerators, and potato salad left at room temperature for days on end. Just imagine this brave new world where every decision you make as a consumer you get to individually vet for basic things like, “will this product poison and sicken me?” or “am I about to die if I consume this?” Because we all have time for such nonsense, or the knowledge, or access to information, and I’m sure we can rely on businesses to always be forthright with consumers about risks of their products.
And we thought anti-vax was bad. At least they’re not denying germ theory, just the last 100 years or so of public health and sanitation measures that have drastically-reduced food-borne illness. I guess freedom means the ability to sell poison and tainted meat, albeit with a disclaimer and the wonderful reassurance that if I die from a tainted taco my family can sue for damages (unsuccessfully if the business has a good lawyer).
Can we please not live in such a world?