Posts Tagged ‘Robin Hood’

One of my pet peeves is when people characterize Robin Hood as some sort of left-wing redistributionist. As I’ve explained, that’s utter nonsense.

If you read the book or watch the movie starring Errol Flynn, Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham were the bad guys because they over-taxed the peasants. Robin Hood was the good guy because he rescued the money from the tax collectors and returned it to the people who earned it.

Kudos to Ted Cruz, who tried to educate (a poorly informed) Bernie Sanders on this topic.

Cruz accidentally promoted Prince John to King John (or is my aging memory betraying me and did Prince John declare himself King at some point?), but he’s 100 percent correct on the fundamental point.

And now I’m wondering which modern leftists should play the roles of the bad guys from Robin Hood if there’s a remake of the movie. Perhaps Obama should be Prince John, which might be a better fit than the other movie roles people have imagined for our former president.

And the Sheriff of Nottingham obviously could be played by our corrupt IRS Commissioner. He would be a natural for the role.

But let’s not get too distracted. The focus today is on whether Robin Hood belongs to Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party. This image reinforces the point that the latter is a better fit.

Just in case the message isn’t clear, here’s a nice clip from the cartoon version of Robin Hood.

I’m delighted that children actually were exposed to this message. I suggest sharing this clip widely with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephew, etc, etc.

For what it’s worth, I also tried to correct the record about Robin Hood in a TV interview back in 2012.

P.S. Leftists aren’t the only people to mischaracterize Robin Hood, as I noted when discussing an otherwise-solid column by Cal Thomas.

P.P.S. Since Cal Thomas mentioned Robin Hood as part of a column explaining that Jesus wasn’t a socialist, I can’t resist showing Libertarian Jesus, who dispenses wisdom here and here.

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When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Robin Hood. I remember reading at least two books recounting the legend and I watched the Errol Flynn version of the movie several times.

And, as an adult, I saw both the Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe versions of Robin Hood.

“I’m not an occupy-Wall-Street moocher”

None of this makes me an expert, but it does allow me to state with some confidence that Robin Hood was not a left-wing hero who stole from the rich and redistributed to the poor.

Instead, he was a quasi-libertarian tax protestor. Okay, maybe it’s an exaggeration to claim he was a libertarian, but Robin Hood was on the side of ordinary people who were being exploited by incessant tax demands from the ruling class. His main enemies were Prince John and the Sheriff on Nottingham, not the medieval equivalents of Wall Street.

In the Russell Crowe version of the movie, Robin Hood even gives a speech about the importance of liberty.

So you can imagine how irked I get when statists agitate for things such as the “Robin Hood Tax” in this moronic video. But what motivated me today is a story in the Financial Times about a Cesar Chavez wannabee politician from Spain.

For Spain’s ruling politicians he is a criminal; for his supporters he is Robin Hood, stealing from supermarkets and redistributing the food to the poor. Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, the mayor of Marinaleda, a southern town with a population of 2,600, has been catapulted to cult hero status in Spain after setting out this week on an anti-austerity march across Andalucia – occupying banks and stealing food… “We are fighting a war for the poor … going to jail is not important for me, it would be an honour,” Mr Sánchez Gordillo told the Financial Times. “We are going to occupy all of the banks and supermarkets we are able to in Andalucia. The robbers who have caused this crisis must pay the consequences for what they have done.”

But if the Mayor really wants to make robbers pay, he should march straight to jail and turn himself in. Not for the empty publicity stunt of robbing grocery stores, but for being part of a political class that has dramatically increased the burden of government spending in Spain, from about 30 percent of GDP in 1980 to well over 40 percent today.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for self-awareness from this clown.

Not surprisingly, unions are part of the protest. I’m guessing that Mr. Canamero represents government employees.

On Friday, the marchers, who plan to sleep in the open or in parks, occupied a branch of Banco Santander in the town of Mancha Real in the province of Jaén before leaving later in the day. Diego Canamero, head of the Andalucian Workers Union, was in the branch on Friday. He said critics of the protests were politicians protecting their own interests. “These are symbolic actions against an unsustainable economic situation,” he said. “The bankers rob us, and take our money to tax havens…”

The dig against tax havens is particularly laughable. Ordinary Spaniards should hope and pray that their deposits in the local banks are safely re-deposited in banks based in well-run and honest jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or Singapore.

And if they’re smart, they already cut out the middleman and directly placed their savings in one of these low-tax jurisdictions. That way, they’re not only at much less risk of a bank collapse, but they also have greater ability to protect their assets from the venal and incompetent tax-hungry political elite.

Returning to the mischaracterization of Robin Hood, this Payne cartoon does a good job of capturing my thoughts.

I especially like how Payne shows that the left-wing version of Robin Hood is all about a perniciously corrupt version of redistribution (though he should have included the Export-Import Bank on the side of the van). The genuine poor get crumbs while the well-connected interests make out like bandits.

P.S. Other good Payne cartoons can be seen here, here, herehereherehere, and here.

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Speaking earlier this week to a group of kids, President Obama invoked Jesus and the three wise men to justify his agenda of redistribution. I’m not exactly a religious scholar, but this surely is absurd. Doesn’t Christianity (and, I assume, Judaism and other faiths) require individuals – using free will – to act charitably? Using the coercive power of government to forcibly redistribute other people’s money, by contrast, is moral preening at best and could be characterized as government thuggery. Writing for Townhall.com, Cal Thomas certainly was not amused:

Speaking Monday afternoon to a group of children from the Washington, D.C., Boys and Girls Club, the president delivered a mini sermon on “why we celebrate Christmas.” He asked the children if they knew. One piped up and said “The birth of baby Jesus.” …The president spoke of what Jesus “symbolizes for people all around the world,” which he said, “is the possibility of peace and people treating each other with respect.” And then, in the best tradition of a community organizer, the president said Jesus is about “doing something for other people.” Even the “three wise men” were invoked to support the president’s idea of wealth redistribution: “…these guys … have all this money, they’ve got all this wealth and power, and they took a long trip to a manger just to see a little baby.” And what conclusion should be drawn from that journey? The president told the children, “…it just shows you that because you’re powerful or you’re wealthy, that’s not what’s important. What’s important is … the kind of spirit you have.” To the president, this means the spirit of government taking from the productive and giving to the nonproductive. To Him, Jesus is a socialist, or perhaps an early Robin Hood. …only people can be compassionate. A government check too often brings dependence and a sense of entitlement.

I must quibble with one small part of Cal’s column. Robin Hood was a freedom fighter, not a redistributionist. His mission was to reclaim money that the nobles stole (i.e., taxed) from the peasantry. Modern society has turned the story upside down.

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