Lileks muses on the good people of the nation’s capital

In the latest installment of his “Athwart” column for National Review, James Lileks offers the following amusing anecdote:

The Honest Tea Company, a division of Coca-Cola, conducted a nationwide test to see whether people would pay for the stuff at an unattended kiosk. Character, as the saying goes, is what you do when no one’s looking, or Huma won’t be home for an hour. In Alabama, 100 percent of the people who took a drink paid, which makes the sophisticates laugh: They no doubt think some imaginary Sky-being is looking over their shoulder. Most of the nation scored in the 90s or high 80s. Bottom of the list: Washington, D.C.

Stunning! A city whose chief industry is Confiscation abounds with people who feel entitled to take something without paying. Granted, a dollar is a lot to ask; you could get a whole house in Detroit for that. But it’s telling. Perhaps D.C. residents assumed that the operator of the kiosk had his hours cut back because the employer was making everyone part-time to escape Obamacare, in which case the company should be penalized. Perhaps they realized it was a promotion and Coke would write it all off, in which case the government was actually subsidizing Big Tea, so they were entitled to a free one.

They might also believe the cesspool is a hot tub.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...