My left-leaning friends never tire of conjuring the ghost of Robin Hood when they talk about using the government to take from the greedy rich to give to the starving poor. This in spite of the fact that the greatest health problem among American poor people is obesity. The analogy comparing tax and spend liberals to Robin Hood, fails on several levels.
Let's take the case point by point:
- Robin Hood stole largely from wealthy politicians - clerics, barons, earls and kings - the worst sort blue-blooded riff raff.
- Robin did not exactly steal from the working rich to give to the poor either. He took back money extracted from citizens by the King's tax collectors and gave it back to the poor from which it had been taken - rather like taking it from the IRS and giving a big tax rebate to the country's over-taxed citizens.
- Robin did not get a cushy job out of the deal with a retirement plan, a weekly paycheck and health insurance. He had no power from the crown to harass ordinary citizens with unnecessary paperwork, license restrictions and the threat of jail. He was chased into the forest, constantly hounded by the sheriff's men and generally under-appreciated by the leftist celebrities among the privileged classes.
- Robin gave the money he took back to the sick, the lame and downtrodden and to the hard-working farmers and tradesmen who had earned that money in the first place, not in order to get the support of the professionally indigent in exchange for their support for maintaining the self-appointed and self-serving nobility in public office.
- Robin Hood believed in the right to keep and bear arms. Robin and his men were armed citizens. He knew how to shoot accurately an it is highly unlikely he'd have turned in his bow and arrow just because the King said so.
- Robin Hood believed the king drew his rights and privileges from ordinary citizens, not the citizens from the generosity of an entitled nobility (i.e. the government).
- Robin Hood was a strong believer in liberty. So much so that he was willing to fight for it against an oppressive government.
- Robin Hood believed in a strong national defense, joining King Richard on his crusades against Muslim invaders (check your history - the Muslims got as far as Austria before the European nations banded together to drive them back to the Middle-East).
- Robin Hood believed in the right of the ordinary citizen to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. He believed small business people, farmers and tradesmen had a right to ply their trade unmolested. He was a free market capitalist.
- Robin Hood believed in freedom of religion and that the church should be independent of the state, not a tool of oppression for the state. He robbed wealthy and corrupt priests and bishops, but kept his own chaplain for his band of merry men.
- Sir Robin of Loxley believed in free speech. He spoke out fearlessly against the depredations of the Lords and nobles who oppressed the poor working man.
- Robin Hood believed in the freedom of assembly. He was always conducting impromptu meetings and doing community organization work, much to the dismay of the landed gentry and the nobles and priests.
- Robin Hood believed in a free press. He often posted competing notices next the ones the king and the sheriff nailed to trees all over the countryside.
- Robin Hood didn't tell people how they should eat, drink or enjoy life. He had no appreciable desire to tell anyone how they should conduct their personal business. He liked girls even though he wore tights and believed in the importance of keeping traditional families together even when times got tough. He didn't whine when the going got tough. He solved the problem the best way he could with the resources he had at hand.
- Finally, Robin Hood believed that a corrupt powerful government should be held accountable for its sins. He engaged in civil disobedience against unjust laws and periodically recalled a particularly corrupt and despotic politician to a special tribunal that will take place, not in this world, but in the next one.
© 2014 by Tom King