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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
The Prince of Theives

I've been thinking about certain issues in regard to the commission of crimes, for somewhat obvious reasons.

I find it interesting that a society that, in many ways, reviles the thought of criminal activity we find it necessary to demand that crimes committed in a good cause should be ignored.

I blame Robin Hood myself.

In Western, British-descended culture -- although I suppose I can only authoritatively speak for American's brought up on the northern part of the West Coast, and even then generalizations are bad -- we have a folk hero... a man who 'robbed from the rich to give to the poor'... a man who broke the law to maintain a kind of higher morality in the face of a despicable and corrupt government.

People idolize him, a man standing up for the commoner through use of arms and wit. How can we not love a man who stole money and clothes from fat, greedy, horrible men who were working their serfs and villagers as slaves?

His noble ideals turn his band of merry men into the stuff of fairy tales instead of of what they would have been -- a gang of bandits stealing from taxmen and merchants for their own profit and the occasional good deed.

Robin Hood, whoever he may have been, was really good at spinning the PR machine.

Let us ignore the soldiers killed or maimed just for doing their jobs. We shall pay no heed to the reality that violent reprisals against the honest, hardworking farmers and villagers were sparked by the theft of monies for the crown -- whether those taxes were justified or not. Let us forget the theft from merchants, fat arrogant lot that they may have been, who, without money to pay their workers, buy supplies, or move product certainly allowed shit to roll down hill... leaving townsfolk without funds to pay their taxes, or farmers for their food, or whatever.

Obviously, Robin Hood was an honest, forward-thinking individual.

This is no Antigone, upholding a higher law with risk to herself and willing to take whatever punishment she was afforded. It is not Henry David Thoreau refusing to pay his taxes to make a point.

This is the overwhelming notion that anything is justified if you've got some kind of 'good cause' to go with it.

This thinking, in fact, is the same that allows people to rationalize so-called 'just wars.' It does not matter if you kill and maim and destroy so long as your 'just cause' is accomplished. Whether this 'just cause' is the liberation of the holy land (Urban II was an ass, btw) or 'bringing democracy to the oppressed,' it doesn't change the fact that the perpetrator is doing something that could be classified as criminal or immoral because he is 'good.'

I'm not going to say that there are no truly just causes, causes worth going to war over, because there are. Nor do I take the stand that there are never time when you have to break the law in order to do what is morally right, because it does happen.

But simply 'being nice' or 'trying to help your friends' without thought isn't it. They can be mitigating factors, sure, but they don't necessarily excuse behavior.

I don't blame a starving man for stealing food. I do blame one for holding up a bank to get money to buy it. The fact that he's desperate doesn't give him the right to terrorize people. The fact that he's starving doesn't make either of these scenarios okay, but it makes the first action forgivable.

I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that motives don't change the actions taken, though they can mitigate them... and that motive has to be of sufficient caliber to mitigate consequences as well. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor is all well and good, but not if the Sheriff proceeds to burn down eveyone's house, rape their sheep, and put the women to pasture.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative