Statists with Socialist-leaning fiscal policies often get away with invoking the folk hero, Robin Hood.
This illustrates a truth I find frustrating. That is, liberals have an uncanny ability to successfully redefine stuff, like words, history, and even popular fiction. I don’t mean that as a compliment, but it is true. I wish our team could do that, frankly. But we are not very good at it. Once they redefine things, it’s well-nigh impossible to put it all right again.
If you control the definition of terms, you are nine-tenths of the way toward defining the debate in a manner that automatically favors your cause, and then victory is close at hand. They’ve done it with abortion for decades, successfully framing the controversy as an issue of “choice” and individual sovereignty. They’ve done it with sodomite marriage, which is now seen primarily as an issue of fairness, rather than perversion. They get away with being the most intolerant of partisans and then claiming the high-ground of tolerance.They also seem to get away with it when it comes to Socialism, by invoking the King of Outlaws and the supposed virtue of “stealing from the rich, to give to the poor.”
They want you to see them as a band of merry men who are sticking it to the rich on your behalf. They fancy themselves Robin of Loxley. Of course, the corollary there is that they see you as the unwashed peasants who wait impotently for a hero to help them. Either that or, worse, you make enough money to be the devilish “rich” they think it’s right to steal from.
There aren’t a lot of instances in which I’d suggest that Walt Disney has something to teach us about politics, but this is one of them. Raising three daughters, I had some opportunity to sit through a few (million) viewings of cartoon features, including Disney’s Robin Hood. I wish the statists in both parties would find themselves lashed to theater seats and forced to watch it until they grasp what’s going on.
Robin Hood, the impetuous fox, surely did steal from the rich and give to the poor. But what no one seems to notice is that the rich were those who were padding their wallets with money brought into government coffers through oppressive, confiscatory taxation! The poor were poor precisely because Prince John sent his lackey, the Sheriff of Nottingham, to shake them down and take every last pittance from them. This shakedown included threatened as well as actual imprisonment and the implied specter of violence.
Taxation not only reduced the productive people of the land to a state of desperation and near-starvation, but it was also used as a means of punishing those who made themselves the Prince’s enemies. Taxation as political weapon, right there in a Disney cartoon! I can think of a few folks who ought to put that in their sequester and smoke it.
Therefore, when Robin and his merry fellows robbed the “rich,” we’re talking about people who received money that had been taken by force from those who rightfully owned it. And when the money was given to the poor it was not the redistribution of wealth from producers to slackers. It was, in fact, a tax cut.
Beware the liberals in both parties, then, who constantly advocate for money to be taken from producers and workers and entrepreneurs. They resemble the Sheriff of Nottingham much more than they do Robin. And we should take some pleasure in reminding them of this at every turn.
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