Over at PolicyMic, Swathi Nallapa claims libertarian ideas were in part to blame for the recent building collapse in Bangladesh. Writing on a website with an emphasis for decentralization, Nallapa ironically calls for greater central control in the form of global labor laws.
While I have no intention of arguing with a college student, her point is worth addressing because it's a common attack on libertarianism from the left that needs to be addressed.
Their basic point is that, in libertopia, without regulations on workplace conditions, employers will have no regard for the lives and welfare if their employees. All bosses, to them, were created by Charles Dickens.
And to this I say bah... and no, they're not.
For one, the building in Southeast Asia was already in violation of local laws. By proposing global regulation, is she suggesting the US or even the UN enforce these laws? This sounds a lot like the spreading democracy arguments we hear every time we invade another country.
If employers aren't following their own laws, why would they follow ours?
Secondly, they assume a dichotomy consisting of either government regulation or anarchy. There are other solutions besides regulation. Libertarians don't say "do nothing" but rather "we, the people, can do it better than a central power."
The time has come for libertarians to cleanse our mantle of the left's broad brush of unfair criticism and of the soiling left by the Wayne Allyn Root wing of the LP.
If we are to continue to grow in the national conversation, we must be sure to define ourselves apart from our opponents' characterizations, since they have most of the media for definition.