Robin Hood and The Redistribution of Wealth


It’s the interminable election season in America. Every four years we hear all the antique arguments. Maturity lends one a permanent Déjà vu. Or in my case a mental stutter. ‘But, but, but, that’s not true!’ Since I was ten years old I have heard it said that ‘Robin Hood took from the rich and gave to the poor.’ And, therefore – somehow – it is the role of government to emulate this Thirteenth Century fellow. Well, OK. I guess that would make sense. If the role of the government were to emulate armed robbery.

But that’s not what Robin Hood did. Prince John, a legitimate regent before becoming a legitimate king, a pillar of the ruling class of his day, raised taxes. He primarily raised taxes on the wealthy because they were the ones with, well, wealth. The legitimate government raised taxed to the point where people were becoming poorer. The taxes were applied rigidly, without mercy, and at the point of the sword. Same as it ever was. Robin Hood stole from the government and returned the money to the people.

If lowering taxes and taking money and lands from to government and giving them back to the people resembles any group, well it does not resemble those who claim the mantle of Robin Hood. Those who demand greater government control of land, weapons, money, and people more accurately resemble Prince John.

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