When I was a wee conservative, counting bond revenues at my mother’s knee, it was the dear lady’s practice to frighten me to death with tales of that arch-bandit, Robin Hood. The conservative wisdom was and is that no more dastardly crime lurks in the heart of man than the infamy of taking from the rich to give to the poor. Entire sweeps of political philosophy, in fact, seem to have been motivated by little else than antagonism to poor Robin and his hoods. On the other hand, an entire sweep of political reality, in this nation, was and is motivated by the reverse proposition, that it is okay to rob from the poor to give to the rich.
The Democrats have done it through a welfare system in which the poor are “client” victims who get the crumbs from the bureaucratic table which is the system’s principal purpose. They also characteristically steal the poor blind through construction projects, licenses and franchises, and such other thefts as are most appropriate to men who have risen from precinct politics.
The Republicans have done it through, most lately, the warfare state of corporate liberalism, in which the lives of the poor are daily robbed of meaning or hope so that they may be used solely as cogs in the industrial machine which is the system’s principal purpose. They also steal through the total use of the state and it’s power, its credit, its regulations, to the end of special advantage for the corporate elite, a form of theft most appropriate to men who have gone to the best schools.
So much for the reverse. What about Robinhoodism, straight and unalloyed? Should we frighten tots with his image? Was his the worst of crimes? …