Robin Hood

Back on Monday I posted about tax policy, and how Obama plans to lower taxes for the vast majority of taxpayers, while paying for it by restoring higher taxes on a tiny minority we could call the very rich.

One response to this plan that I have seen is, "Just like Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor!" I think these people are trying to ridicule Obama. I've even seen caricatures showing Obama in tights and a leather doublet. Maybe that's funny; I don't know. Having worn tights and a leather doublet I can tell you it's not such a big deal.

Anyway, I think these people are missing two major ideas. The first is that in most presentations of the Robin Hood story, Robin is the hero; we admire him; we hold his actions up for praise; we rejoice when his enemies are humiliated.

The second is that in most presentations, Robin Hood is fighting against a usurper and the nobles who support him. The king is away at the Crusades, and the government is oppressing the people while the rich continue to live in comfort. Robin Hood is seeking to rectify the situation as the King would wish. He is a faithful servant of the King, and in many presentations is rewarded handsomely when the King returns.

Why is this important? Because in America, as Thomas Paine said in his 1776 pamphlet Common Sense, the law is king. Our country, and our country's constitution have always stood for the idea that all people are equal. Faithful service to the rule of law, to the spirit of the law even if actual law is absent, will be rewarded. That's part of the American dream.

Obama portrayed as Robin Hood? He should thank them for the compliment.

2008.09.19 at 12:00am EDT