Reclaiming Robin Hood

Tim DunkinRenew America

Maybe it's just a personal idiosyncrasy, but one thing that annoys me greatly is when people draw misleading or overblown historical analogies to try to support some argument they want to make. For instance, the way some writers try to fit American history into the mold of the Roman Empire — now we're in the Imperial Era, with George Bush as our Claudius, and Obama as our Nero, mourning the lost days of the old Republic. Nevermind that the Roman Republic was an aristocratic oligarchy which was in the habit of bestowing absolute dictatorial powers onto noteworthy individuals in times of crisis, which obviously in no way resembled the early days of America. Nor that the present day circus we call a "government," as bad as it is, in any way approaches the autocratic imperialism of the Roman Principate. Yet, the obtuse analogy persists; usually it is bandied about by Pat Buchanan's acolytes.

But I digress. One analogy that finds a lot of currency in our modern political discourse is the story of Robin Hood. You may remember the story — Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, traipsing about Sherwood Forest, robbing the rich and giving to the poor, right? The references to this story in connection with wealth redistributionary schemes hatched by Democrats are legion. "Robin Hood Tax" is a stock in trade term for the press corp, and Robin himself is lionized as a shining example for every good and decent Democrat who ever selflessly picked the pocket of a productive person to give to a lazy welfare bum sitting at home on his couch watching Jerry Springer. One would almost think that instead of wearing his traditional Lincoln green, Robin should have been decked out in deep, deep red.

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