Sobering Lessons from Merry Men

What happens when ordinary citizens are forced to become outlaws?

If the left have a legendary hero, it's Robin Hood, who did what they claim is their goal: rob from the rich and give to the poor, while finding plenty of time to sing clever songs about social justice.

As with most leftist myth-making, the details of the story are somewhat different: Robin Hood generally stole, yes, from the rich, but specifically from corrupt government agents - that being why they were rich.  A true modern Robin Hood would steal from Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden, not from the hardworking proprietor of your local tavern like the one that was burned out during the Minneapolis protests.  They'd do better to learn from Dennis Moore instead about the perils of redistributing wealth.

The most important lesson of Robin Hood, however, is not his targets of choice: there have always been corrupt government officials eager to abuse their offices for ill-gotten gains, and most likely there always will be.  We call the denizens of Sherwood Forest "outlaws," and indeed they were by definition.

But we also call Jesse James an outlaw, and nobody would confuse him with the men in Lincoln green.  Why not?

When Justice Is Outlawed...

We instinctively know the reason why: Robin Hood and his Merry Men tried to fight for justice.  They were outlaws, yes, because they broke the law, but the laws they were breaking were unjust and contrary to what our Founders would have called natural law.

Jesse James, in contrast, chose to break both actual human laws and natural law when he stole from banks and trains for his own enrichment.  He never gave any of his loot to the needy - he kept it for himself, his family, and his gang.  He served no higher cause.

According to legend, Robin Hood became an outlaw specifically because of unwarranted injustice perpetrated on him: his ancestral estates were fraudulently confiscated by the Sheriff of Nottingham and he fled to refuge in the uncharted depths of the greenwood.  Many of his Merry Men followed a similar path, such as depictions of Will Scarlett interfering in predation of innocents by the Sheriff's men, and having to flee official retaliation.

The land of England in Robin Hood's time was not a place of anarchy: it had an active government.  But it was an oppressive government, coddling official reprobates while abusing good people who got in the way.  Given what's going on today in our universities, it should come as no surprise that postmodern historians are defending King John as an effective leader precisely because of how he governed:

A considerable body of evidence in the form of pipe rolls, charters and letters patent indicates strongly that John was highly effective – perhaps too effective – in mobilizing the resources of his kingdom and in imposing the royal will upon the population at large. This apparently incontestable evidence shows John to have been possessed of vigor and vim, constantly on the move enforcing Angevin aspirations.

Sound familiar?  There's a reason the barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede - they wanted to limit his power.  That, of course, is also the reason that he violated the terms of the agreement as soon as he could: like any number of leaders through the ages, he didn't want formal limits on his power.

The entire purpose of our Constitution, the modern heir to Magna Carta, is the embodiment of the same principle: we don't want a king who can just do whatever he likes.  There are supposed to be a great many things our government simply cannot do... nearly all of which have been violated, increasingly brazenly, over the past few months.

Most recently and notoriously, the fundamental right to self-defense has been openly rejected by government officials easily as evil as the Sheriff of Nottingham.  A private family, on their own private property set on a private street, was set upon by an angry BLM mob for no particular reason.  As would any sane person, they armed themselves and drove off the mob, no shots being fired.

This is nothing more than countless Americans - yes, even black Americans - have done throughout the centuries.  There is nothing more American than the absolute right to defend your own home.  Not only is the right to firearms Constitutionally protected, the laws of their state explicitly allow the right to protect themselves and their property.

So what did the city attorney have to say about them?

We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.

In other words, the angry armed mob which had broken through a locked gate in order to commit trespass was in the right because of the political side they were on (the left, of course).  It was the ordinary citizens who have no rights!

Now, it's unlikely this particular couple will flee into the Great North Woods: they're in their 60s and both successful lawyers.  We needn't look far to find other, less wealthy and lucky victims of official injustice for defending their natural rights: a store clerk arrested for shooting a robber, others detained by police for defending their property while ignoring the looters.  And that's not even addressing the current insane diktats against people earning their own livings in their own businesses by serving willing customers.

Then, there's the well-documented official oppression that has contributed mightily to our current disorder.  It's a fact that the vast majority of the poster children for "police abuse" deserved what they got, like Michael Brown who tried to take the cop's gun and shoot him with it.  But it's just as true that a great many people innocent of any real crime were harassed by cops in Ferguson.

As the Sheriff of Nottingham discovered, if you beat on people long enough, eventually they'll rise up against you.  A certain portion of the protest on the left, sad to say, has good cause - though rioting and looting is never the right response.  Are we now building up a more widely distributed, but also wealthier, better-educated, and better-armed group of equally resentful victims of official tyranny on the right?

The mobs on the left want to throw off the "rich" who, they suppose, oppress them, combined with the Marie Antoinettes who misrule Democrat disasters cities.  Lovers of liberty on the right now reject any deference to elites and experts who, in front of all the world, have been proved utterly dishonest, incompetent, and ignorant of reality.

Where's King Richard when we need him?  He's in the White House, but, as the Sheriff of Nottingham did his best to prevent Robin Hood from righting the wrongs he and his henchpeople committed and, most of all, to preclude the return of the rightful king, our Deep State is trying to block the reforms for which he was elected.  Will the ethos of "Make American Great Again" and "Drain the Swamp" prevail?  Or will it, like King Richard, end up frustrated, unsuccessful, and in an early grave?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Many years ago, I exited I-95 ,late one night for gas, and pulled into a convenience store which had a remarkable hand writted sign on the front door. I've wondered, recently, just how that sign would be dealt with in today's world.
The sign read " Rattlesnakes loose in store two nighta a week."
Thanks for the well written piece; much appreciated, as always.

July 12, 2020 7:47 PM

It would be nice to be able to Like an article, but not nice enough I will create a FB account to do so.

July 12, 2020 10:24 PM
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