Peter Schorsch is my new hero.

According to an article in the Free Beacon, “Peter Schorsch ended the pay-it-forward guilt chain at a Starbucks drive-thru.”

The Free Beacon goes on:

The pay-it-forward cult has popped up a few times over the past few months and the concept (like most evil, totalitarian ideologies) is simple and appears altruistic: Pay for your over-priced beverage and pay for the guy in line behind you. Then the next guy does the same, and so on …

Eventually, someone calls the media and gets free publicity for Starbucks by getting local TV to cover the human interest story that is supposed to make us all feel great about humanity. Here’s USA Today‘s contribution reporting on an 11-hour scheme in Florida that ended after 378 lemmings plunged off the coffee-stained cliff.

Mr. Peter Schorsch stopped the madness when he became the 379th customer in a Starbucks pay-it-forward line and the first to refuse to pay for the next guy’s skinny latte and made off with two Venti Mocha Frappucinos (one free and one for his wife). Bravo!

In a blog post headlined “Damned Straight, I Broke Up the Faux ‘Pay-It-Forward at Starbucks,” the hero explains why he took this bold action:

On Wednesday, a reported 378 people “paid it forward” at a St. Petersburg Starbucks by buying the drink of the customer next in line.

Regardless of whether people in the line knew they were part of a “Pay It Forward” chain, each of those 378 purchases were true acts of kindness.

What is not an act of kindness is what is happening today at the same Starbucks, where customers are being told that they had had their drink paid for and then asked would they like to pay for the drink of the person next in line.

That’s not generosity, that’s guilt.

When a new “Pay It Forward” chain started today, I decided to put an end to it. Not because I am against paying it forward, but because whatever is going on Starbucks is not paying it forward. It may even be a nice thing, but it’s not the charitable concept “Pay It Forward” is supposed to be about.

So, yes, I drove to the Starbucks, purchased two Venti Mocha Frappuccinos (one for me and my wife) and, even though someone in front of me had paid for one of my drinks, I declined the barista’s suggestion to pay for the drink of the person next in line.

Chain broken.

Now, let’s get back to dumping ice water over our heads for a good cause.

P.S. I gave the baristas a $100 tip just to prove that I am not a 100% grinch.

P.P.S. The only concept worse than a faux act of generosity, is the local media hyping it.

So much of our "charity" today is smug and self-serving. I am loathe to criticize the charitable giving options afforded us at many checkout counters since genuinely worthy organizations such as St. Jude’s Hospital for children with cancer are often beneficiaries. Still, I become furious when the person checking me out asks, “Do you want to donate?”

Donate to what? Anything in particular? Does it matter whether it’s the Hamas Doll Fund or St. Jude’s? I had a softie attack and donated for a blanket for a homeless animal recently (the lesser amount for a toy seemed so—well—cheap). But generally I wax wroth.

Charity is good for the giver, but that good is not supposed to be a feeling of smugness. It is also not supposed to be relief that for a few minutes we have assuaged some free-floating guilt. The Good Samaritan was aiming his charity at the man fallen among thieves, not himself, and would probably have been stunned if he’d suspected that his charity was going to echo through two millennia.

A lot of our government programs are similar to our faux charities: they are aimed not at improving the lot of recipients but at making liberals feel good. Unlike the Good Samaritan, the most vocal in support of these programs are sublimely oblivious to the results of their good will. Does anybody really think that the big government programs of the Great Society overall have helped poor people? Was the destruction of the black family, wrought by various welfare rules, a blessing in disguise? Would somebody be better off with a minimum wage job or an Obamaphone?

To ask these questions shows that you just don't get it. Take Head Start. Studies show that the Head Start program has very little benefit for the children who participate.

To harp on this, however, is to miss the point: Head Start may do nothing for poor children, but it makes liberals feel dandy.  

Since people who are not liberals are also forced by law to pick up the tab for their faux generosity, liberals get a cut rate deal: they feel smug and all of us pay.

Mr. Schorsch, ever thought of going to Iowa? I hear New Hampshire is also nice. We need people like you.