When I was little, my favorite folk hero wasn’t even from my culture — the one my region had that was somewhat similar was an out and out villain, who might have robbed from the rich to suborn the poor, but didn’t have the same streak of nobility — it was Robin Hood.
And no, I didn’t love him for the same reason the left does. They seem to think he’s some kind of Bernie Sanders in tights (pauses to try to make image go away) deciding who has earned too much (Oh, sorry, as Mr. Obama said, “made enough money”) and equalizing it with those who weren’t willing to not make that. Or perhaps a male Occasional Cortex giving money to those unwilling to work.
What they don’t know about the middle ages…
Anyway, mostly what Robin Hood did was keep the boot of the powerful — which isn’t the same as rich, even if they often coincide — from the neck of the people barely struggling to survive. And he did it with elan and aplomb and — in the serials I read — a good deal of pulpy trickery which is the equivalent of magic. I liked him the way I later liked the Saint (the Leslie Charteris one. Though the movie was very well done, it was not the same person.)
The reason Robin Hood needed to do that is that the king had gone on the crusades and not come back, and with him had gone the law, since in those pre-magna carta days the king was the law.
Yes, in real history there was a lot more going on there, and Richard himself was an almighty pain in the neck, as kings tend to be.
But it wasn’t who the king was in theory. In theory the king was supposed to be in charge of making sure the hereditary noblemen didn’t exploit the poor. Sometimes it even worked in the sense that the king didn’t really want the noblemen to become so big they challenged him and that meant making side-pacts with the peasants, to keep the noblemen in check. This De Haute en Bas strategy was used more often by the French kings, who frankly had “vassals” who had more power than them until they managed to concentrate the power in the Sun King. (Though Henri IV, with his concession that Paris was worth a mass, had started that concentration.) There are some historians who think it was the attempt at using that strategy by the admittedly inept Louis XVI that misfired and blew up into the French Revolution.
At any rate, at least in the serials of Robin Hood, the king was the law, and the regent or the governor of Nottingham were not the law, and allowed the noblemen to run rough shod over the peasants and take their last groat for unspecified purposes. It wasn’t so much a matter of giving people what they hadn’t earned as of giving them what they’d earned that had been expropriated by the powerful.
In real life, of course, the unjust taxes of John Lackland were to save Richard’s skanky ass from prison in the land of one of his nominal allies. Never mind that, though. This far back, it’s the symbology that matters.
As we all know Robin Hood — or at least I know, because I fell down that rabbit hole for a month and a half at one time, in all my spare time — is mostly mythical and conflating him with the time of King Richard is nonsense, as he seems to go much further back, perhaps to some mostly-forgotten Celtic myth.
Which is a great pity because I’m starting to think we need a figure like that.
Because Judges have gone insane and think they can overthrow the very law under which they were sworn.
It started to become really obvious when that moron Judge Posner decided to diss the Constitution of the United States, but now it’s gotten truly ridiculous.
Do these idiots think they’re kings by Divine right and that the law is what they say it is, so they can chop away at the very law that gave them their position?
Do they imagine by destroying the rule of law it will be the rule of them?
They wouldn’t be the first nor the last to think so. And usually the result of this is that they end up dead. Unfortunately, usually, so does their land.
Because laws are what we have instead of the word of a king and of a king protecting the less powerful from the more powerful. You chop away at that, and you leave it to the supposed, self-proclaimed elites to try to “rule” over those they presume have no power.
Oh, they think it will be all lovely and the way they wish. To the extent they already ignore the laws and engage in crony capitalism, and deplatform those they disagree with and — if you please — brag about it in the public sphere, it’s no wonder they think so.
But they could benefit from reading some history. They won’t. The truth is like Louis XVI they understand very little about people. At least pour Louis was born to it and was trying to be the best he could, not a rapacious little know-nothing trying to grasp power he wasn’t prepared for. And yet their fate will his his. Oh, and the fate of many of the revolutionaries that toppled him.
The genius of the American system is that we can dispense with a king only so long as the Constitution is supreme. As long as its respected and its rule inflexible, we have no need of a king applying some De Haute en Bas strategy just to allow us to breathe when that boot is lifted from our necks a little. In fact, the law allows high and low to cooperate, mingle and prosper together.
Which is altogether too bad, as it’s been subverted, ignored or outright prostituted for more than a hundred years. And now the idiots are trying to call it outdated. When they aren’t outright trying to use it in the service of their unlawful intents.
Idiots? But it gives them so much power!
Sure it does. Except it never stays that way. Without a really wily king — say Louis XIV — the whole thing tends to explode, as it did in the French revolution. And even Louis XIV, it could be said sowed the most distant seeds of that.
The only way for men to work and live together without boots on necks or, eventually, the owners of the boots adorning lampposts (and it wouldn’t be only that. Why, we can do even more high tech than the guillotine. More satisfying too.) is for the law to apply to everyone, and to be inviolate and respected.
Once there is a law for the “high” (and boy, are they. That Oxacan ditchweed must be a special crop.) and one for the low, the time when high and low grapple and the cries of aristo, aristo a la lanterne are heard throughout the land are as inevitable as Fall following summer.
Only a moron or someone blinded by utter greed to the point of foolishness would forget that.
But they’ve been forgetting. And there’s more of them every day.
And if we don’t fight back for the law now, we’ll all be wading through blood later.
Be not afraid. Keep your principles, and your ideals in mind. The sea is about to get rough.
But in the the end we win they lose. Because no matter how many times it sinks, civilization always rises again.
And equality before the law IS civilization.