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Obama's misplaced Robin Hood complex

By J.J. Jackson
web posted October 27, 2008

Barack Obama, like any good liberal, has a Robin Hood complex.  This came out plainly when he bluntly told "Joe the Plumber", a man who has been vilified by the left and has had his actual comment distorted into things he never said, that he wanted to, "spread the wealth around," by taxing people who make too much.  In this case, Obama has set that bar at a level of $250,000.

When it became clear to the Marxist left who believe in, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs," that such ideas were not going to fly in America as they had across Europe, they started to sing a different tune.  In singing that different tune they have co-opted the figure of Robin Hood whose claim to fame, they believe, was that he "stole from the rich" to "give to the poor".  To an extent it is true, but not to the extent that liberals want you to believe.

Robin HoodRobin Hood is a beloved story told to many children and has admittedly undergone many tweaks and changes over time.  As time has worn on, the left has been able to portray themselves as modern day Robin Hoods who want to take from those that have too much to give to those that have little or nothing.  But the true story of Robin Hood is not simply that he "stole from the rich" and dispersed those spoils to the poor.  Rather, those that Robin Hood fought against were the bureaucrats and the corrupt that kept the people under the heal of their boot.  He fought against what was, at the time, excessive government and those that controlled the reins of power and the feudal order of the time.

In early tales Robin Hood was a member of the freeholder class and a land owner – not someone that was poor himself.  He had no real reason to stand up against the feudal system except that he saw it as wrong.

The Sheriff of Nottingham is perhaps Robin Hood's best known adversary. In other versions of the story Prince John was also right up there with the Sherriff and a cruel leader in the absence of King Richard who was off fighting in the crusades.  Both were of the nobility, the "chosen" class, and given fiat powers to rule over the people without consent of the people.  There were, for all intents and purposes, tyrannical politicians. The Sheriff was in fact, the "tax collector" of the day.

The second most famous enemy Robin Hood fights is Guy of Gisborne, whose roll changes depending on the exact story being told.  Whatever version of the story however, Guy of Gisborne is a corrupt figure in the service of the Sheriff either directly or indirectly and a partner in the corruption seeking out Robin Hood.

Others of Robin's foes are members of the Catholic Church who have turned to corruption like the Bishop of Hereford who was fleecing his congregation for his own betterment.

In fact, Robin Hood was not just a champion of "the poor" but of what was right.  He regularly befriended tradesmen who would join his band of Merry Men.  Businessmen oppressed under the yoke of taxes, farmers, workers and even nobles rallied behind Robin Hood.  In fact, in early tales the "Merry Men" of Robin Hood were pretty well to do yeomen like figures.  They wielded swords, not the quarter staffs of later tales and of poorer folk, and swords were not cheap so one had to have money to have one.

Yes, depending on the telling of the story, the exact circumstances do change.  But overall the theme remains the same – Robin Hood fought against oppressive government and corrupt public officials and even church officials on behalf of the citizenry. Not just the poor, but all the citizenry.

This is a far cry from what liberals like Barack Obama want to do.  But for some reason they still envision themselves as modern day Robin Hoods.  Is it because of ignorance?  Is it because of stupidity?  No, it is because liberals do what they always do.  They change the meaning of words to suit their goals.  They rewrite history to clean their own consciousness while relabeling all the bad things their fellow travelers have done from slavery, to the formation of the KKK to Jim Crow laws to the murder of Jews during Hitler's reign in Germany as somehow "right wing" and the product of conservative ideologies.  Meanwhile they portray themselves as heroic and fighting for the downtrodden.  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, the one at the switches and levers that wants to oppress and intimidate you into service.

They ignore the fact that Robin Hood was really more of a conservative than a liberal by today's definitions of the terms and not a fellow traveler of theirs.  They ignore the fact that he fought against tyranny, the established political order of oppression and high taxes.  They ignore that that he took on corrupt religious leaders and called them to the carpet.  And while ignoring all this, they supplant themselves as the true heir to a false legacy they have created for Robin Hood.

Yes, Robin Hood did steal from the "rich".  And by "rich" I mean the corrupt politicians and leaders of the day in which the stories are set.  But he did not run around, much to the dismay of liberals, taking on good people who worked hard to make a living for themselves, stripping coin from their purse and running off to give it to another man who had not earned it.

On the other hand, liberals like Barack Obama are all about empowering big government and high taxation.  Which makes them more like the Sheriff of Nottingham or Prince John than any sort of Robin Hood. ESR

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor contributor to American Conservative Daily and also the founder of SignalCongress.com.  He is the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.





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