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Saturday, October 18, 2008
Don't Slander Robin Hood (and Selected Readings)

The hero of Sherwood Forest stole from the government, not rich individuals. A few readings on the election, the economic meltdown, and other themes.

In Defense of Robin Hood

Before I turn to today's very short list of recommended readings, we need to talk about Robin Hood. I'm starting to hear him mentioned here and there in connection with the Obama-Biden campaign. I have not seen or heard anything about him from the candidates themselves, at least not yet, but it is entirely possible that they will go where Al Gore has gone before.

The way the Robin Hood slander usually plays is this: Liberals committed to redistributing their fellow citizens' wealth (this is known as socialism) like to compare themselves to Robin Hood, the folk hero who allegedly took from the rich and gave to the poor. If you remember the saga of Robin Hood at all, then you realize that socialist Democrats cast themselves in exactly the wrong role. They are not Robin Hood. They are the taxing authority, the government. They are the tyrant Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham, who levy and enforce oppressive taxes against the people.

Robin Hood is their natural enemy. He is much more like Joe the Plumber than Barack Obama. Robin Hood steals not from rich individuals, but from the public treasury. He gives the money back to the poor -- and nearly everyone is poor in this picture. It's an unofficial tax rebate, in a sense.

Next time someone slanders Robin Hood by co-opting him in defense of progressive tax rates and other forms of income redistribution, may I suggest you first try to correct them by reminding them of the literary facts? If that doesn't work, mockery might.

The Best

This Tom the Dancing Bug comic is a scathing commentary on a profligate society.

For some years I've been a fan of an insightful, well-written, popular blog, Waiter Rant. Now the Waiter's book is out, and it's on my Amazon.com wish list. It's called Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip -- Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Be advised that, based on the excerpt at Amazon, the book appears to resemble the blog, in that the Waiter's language and subject matter sometimes get rather coarse. For now, here's a blog post I enjoyed about the difference between blogging and writing a book. (No coarse language here.)

The Election and Politics Generally

Mona Charen explains "Why McCain Didn't Land His Punches" in the third debate.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann think the debate may be a possible turning point for McCain, anyway.

Michael Barone wonders if the election will turn on last-minute thoughts about Joe the Plumber. Will this be like 1980, when "voters took almost every minute they could[?] Will they take more time this year, and give some thought to Joe the Plumber?"

Michael Continetti foresees a near future of "in your face liberalism . . . on steroids."

Dennis Prager says there are two Americas, and his version of this is not like John Edwards'.


According to Henry D. Manne in "A Voice from the Friedmanite Wilderness," free market economic ideas will survive the next administration (whichever candidate wins) and someday make a resurgence.

We have banking trouble enough at home, of course, but there's bigger trouble abroad. Iceland may be as bad as anywhere, Rich Galen writes.

The Worst

I've been a fan of Roger Ebert's movie reviews for quite a few years. He writes very well, and when I'm done reading, I usually know whether I'll enjoy a movie or not. Here, however, I offer his review of W as a classic illustration of the unreflective, knee-jerk derision of President George W. Bush which has come to saturate the world view of the chattering classes.

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