Thom Tillis and the absurdity of bathroom-gate

This is one of those stories that was just teed up for the Left almost perfectly. While speaking on the subject of excessive government regulations, Thom Tillis related a personal story, intentionally delving into argumentum ad absurdum, in which he pointed out how civil society can be self-correcting even in the most ridiculous of circumstances. It involved the universally acknowledged tenet that food service workers should wash their hands after using the bathroom.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), at the end of an appearance Monday at the Bipartisan Policy Center, volunteered a story about “his bias when it comes to regulatory reform.”

Tillis said he was at a Starbucks in 2010 talking to a woman about regulations and where businesses should be allowed to opt out. His coffee companion challenged him, asking whether employees there should be required to wash their hands.

“As a matter of fact I think this is one where I think I can illustrate the point,” he recalled telling her. “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 leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that. It’s one example.”

That was, of course, enough for the Left to freak out.

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Senator Sticks Up for Food Service Workers’ Right to **** on Hands
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GOP senator: Don’t make employees wash their hands after going to the bathroom, because freedom
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Your freedom to get sick is being well protected by right wing zealots

In a sane world, reading the text of his statement would be enough to show why this reaction is off base, but to get the full effect you should watch the video. Till is is laughing at the proposition himself and obviously not proposing that the state should endorse eating in restaurants with unsanitary conditions. More than one cable news outlet showing this video intentionally cut it off before Tillis got to the key point he was trying to make on the larger issue of government regulations:

…as long as they post a sign that says we don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that.

Is there any sane person capable of finding their way to a restaurant who doesn’t already know that the food preparation and wait staff have to keep their hands clean? No. But the larger point is that people would not eat in a restaurant where such practices took place. It’s also obvious that Tillis was using humor to make his point when he said, “as long as they post a sign.” Obviously this would take the form of a government regulation, otherwise why would they post a sign?

So for the exceptionally slow or the loudly braying squawkers on the Left, (but I repeat myself) the point here is not a revolutionary movement to fight for the freedom of diners to serve you feces with your Denver omelet. The idea is that, even in the most extreme or absurd situations, the common sense of Americans and the self-correcting nature of the free market take care of many woes. There are exceptions, of course, where the government can and should step in to ensure the general welfare, but that doesn’t mean that every single aspect of waking life for normal Americans requires Big Brother to rush in and hold their hands.

It’s rather sad that someone even had to take the time to say this.