Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

The inconvenient truth behind Robin Hood

Everyone knows the story of Robin Hood.

“Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in […] green, he is often portrayed as ‘robbing from the rich and giving to the poor’ alongside his band of Merry Men. Robin Hood became a popular folk figure in the late-medieval period, and continues to be widely represented in literature, films and television.” – Wikipedia

It’s easy enough just to accept the premise that this hero of the people “robbed from the rich and gave to the poor” – but that’s not really the case, is it?


Robin Hood is a fictitious character that, in popular culture, is typically seen as a contemporary of Richard the Lionheart, the late-12th-century king, however, the earliest writings about him suggests his character lived in the 14th or 15th centuries. Regardless, Robin Hood is almost universally seen as a green-clothed archer or woodsman, a leader, and a proponent of the working class – and a thief.


But who was Robin stealing from? Again, according to popular culture (and supported by some of the early ballads), Robin stole not from the “rich”, but from the tax collectors and the ruling class. The “peasants” of the day were poor, in part because life was hard back then, lack of widespread use of machinery and automation made virtually every task manual chose, and the People were overtaxed. A significant percentage of what the People earned was required to be paid as taxes by the King and his subordinates.

That’s where Robin Hood came in. After the tax collector had taken the hard-earned money from the People, Robin stole the money from the tax collector and returned it to them. The People could honestly say they’d paid their taxes, and the ruling class would go after the thieves – rather than the People.

In modern tellings of the story, the bad guy is Prince John (the embodiment of of greedy, arrogant government). His thug was the Sheriff of Nottingham (the ruthless guy responsible for putting down the tax protestors) – what we now call the IRS. The victims were the taxpayers who were forced to feed the Prince’s lust for money.

The subtext here is that taxation, in general, isn’t bad. It’s over-taxation that is – particularly when tax funds illegitimate, unconstitutional government. Even modern tellings of the story claim that “Prince John, the phony king of England” has overstepped his legal authority and exercised raw, unconstrained power.

The real message

Prince John was breaking the law, violating his oaths, and using the People to fund his own vain desires. He exercised unlimited power and violence against those who objected to his orders. Yes, he was “rich”, but he was “government”. He wasn’t a small business owner. He wasn’t an entrepreneur. He wasn’t one of the people whom we’d call “rich” today. He was a government official. Think of him as the Vice President. It was him – well, actually his minions – that Robin Hood was stealing from. And it was you – the taxpayer – that he was giving it back to.

That’s the inconvenient truth the liberal left doesn’t want you to know. That’s the inconvenient truth that the government hopes you don’t figure out.

Now go and tell some friends.


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