(Side note: Science is not a belief system.)
Our erstwhile friend, Chris Dunn, passed along this story here from TPM about Republican Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) who it turns out isn't a big fan of the science surrounding germs or the concept of common sense.
It turns out that during a Q&A session at the Bipartisan Policy Center this week, he was complaining about government regulation.and related a story from his days as a state legislator in 2010.
“I was having a discussion with someone," he said, :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/'" The other person was quite taken aback and asked if that would mean restaurants would be allowed to opt out of requiring employees to wash after using the restroom.
As it happens, sure, the senator was absolutely okay with that, though in fairness he said that was only provided the businesses made this clear in "advertising" and "employment literature."
“I said: ‘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 senator related.
And then he added, “The market will take care of that," which brought about laughter from the audience.
As the session ended, the moderator joked to Tillis, "I'm not sure I'm gonna shake your hand."
Yes, warm and wonderful laughs all around, and good for the moderator making that point. But it is a critical point at the heart of it all. Because it's not just a case of passing along bacteria and fecal matter and urine in food, but simple handshakes and touching, which is what spreads disease. This isn't about "personal choice," it's about not infecting others.
And yes, the market probably would take care of that. But "probably" is the operative term, and it might not come before a disease got spread.
But ultimately, this story misses a larger point, one not addressed in the article, which does an otherwise fine job ridiculing the senator's lame-brained position. But what the article misses is a bit of hypocritical common sense that Senator Tillis himself so blithely overlooks.
Because there’s too much legislation, he says, Senator Tillis is against requiring that restaurant employees must wash their hands after going to the bathroom -- but he’s okay with requiring that restaurants tell the public their employees don’t have to wash their hands.
I don't know, it just seems to me that if you're going to have just one requirement, it makes a whole lot more sense to make it about stopping the problem from happening in the first place, rather than using your requirement to explain to people that you don't have requirements.
Between their aversion to vaccinations and washing hands after going to the bathroom before serving food, no wonder conservatives were so up in arms over the fictitious Death Panel. They didn't want competition.