If you haven’t seen Ridley Scott’s latest version of “Robin Hood,” you should — especially if you’re an ardent lover of freedom and individual liberty.
I saw the movie recently and heartily recommend it. I also endorse Cathy Young’s review of the film and analysis of the history of the Robin Hood character in the recent Reason Foundation magazine. Young rightly concludes that Robin Hood, played brilliantly by Russell Crowe in the latest version, has captured the imagination of generations because of “freedom, not redistribution.”
Those who believe in using the power of government to take from those who earn and give it to those who won’t may think Robin Hood is their superhero. But as Young points out: “The earliest Robin Hood ballads, which date back to the 13th or 14th century, contain no mention of robbing the rich to give to the poor.” The person Robin helped in those earlier versions was a knight on the verge of losing his property to “the machinations of greedy and unscrupulous monks at an abbey.”
It was only later that Robin Hood “turned from an outlaw farmer into a dispossessed aristocrat and, eventually, a patron of the poor.” But even then, his primary opponent — and the object of the people’s loathing — is the Nottingham sheriff, who was hated not because of his badge but because of his moonlighting as a tax collector.
No longer should Kentucky’s leftist politicians, university professors, activists and groups take comfort in the popular notion that Robin Hood was a medieval socialist. Instead, freedom fighters across the commonwealth can include Robin Hood as one of their own.
He was, as Young puts it: “A libertarian rebel.”