Sunday, October 27, 2013

Misunderstanding Robin Hood

He robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.  Ergo, in an insupportable leap of what passes for logic on the liberal left, Robin Hood must have been a Progressive Socialist!

People - those in the media, college poli-sci courses, the acting profession and residents of California think of Robin Hood as the original champion of the idea of "redistribution of wealth". The fact is Robin o' the Hood was a Conservative of the worst sort. While you are reviving the liberals in the room who have fainted at hearing such blasphemy, hear me out.

To begin with, lets clarify who the interested parties were in this so-called "wealth redistribution" scheme of Mr. Hood's. First you have "the poor". Who were the poor? I can tell you who they were not. They weren't layabouts living on the dole and watching soap operas all day.  First there were no soap operas, save those sung by passing minstrels in the evening by the old communal bonfire.  The poor, in fact, were hard-working Englishmen who paid taxes and tried to eek out a living and feed their families on what was left after the Sheriff's men rounded them up at tax time. In short, just the sort of riff-raff that join the Tea Party, start their own businesses, become Republicans, read books written more than one year ago and do all kinds of other such subversive activities.

Now, then, let's take a look at the rich. First off, "the rich" of the time weren't corporate CEOs, doctors, lawyers, hedge-fund managers or bankers. Folks in those professions were pretty much middle class and in many cases "lower" middle-class. People we think of as poor live better off than most of these guys did.  

No, the "rich" were, in fact, the titled, landed-gentry - the nobles, the barons, dukes, earls and kings who lived off taxes they collected from "the poor". In other words, they were "the government". There was also a second wealthy class at the time - the church's upper-management. The great bishops, cardinals, monsignors and popes of the time collected vast sums from their poor parishioners and redistributed it largely to themselves.  You might consider them the uber-wealthy corporations of their day. They lived large off their "customers" and protected their markets by squeezing out any competition (with, of course, the help of the equally corrupt government). You might object to the analogy, but it fits.  Even though the clergy took vows of poverty, when it came down to living poorly , they simply redefined what poverty was. Sure all the jewels, rich clothing, expensive food and lavish apartments belonged to the church, but if you have a lifetime appointment and unlimited use of such stuff, then the jewel-encrusted hat you wear might as well be yours. Food prepared by the church appointed cooks eats just the same. AND when you get right down to it, the church leaders were a kind of spiritual government that was as important to life as the secular government and both worked together quite shamelessly to fleece the flocks of peasants of the product of their labors.

What Robin did was a kind of "undistribution of wealth".  Robin took the wealth back that the government and the apostate church took from the peasants through taxation and gave it back to the people from whom they had taken it. Robin's problem was not with "wealth", but with taxation. So he began his depredations on the clergy and the nobility as a kind of "tax relief" program - one that was inexpensive (his men hunted their own food, made their own clothes, weapons and shelter), efficient and effective.

So, as a conservative, I'm very pro-Robin Hood. To me he was always against heavy taxation, the privilege of the upper classes and in favor of freedom, life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

Just one man's opinion (which happens to be the correct one).

© 2013 by Tom King

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