Posted by: njs44 | December 22, 2009

Robbing from the rich?

Two articles caught my eye today. They both challenge my assumptions about right and wrong. Although I try to be a law-abiding citizen, when it comes to robbing from the rich to help the poor, the boundaries are somewhat blurred. After all, if the rich can afford it, or are hardly likely to miss it, and you use the money for good, to help people in direst need, then maybe the good that you do outweighs the bad. Is there a case to be made, then, for condoning robbery? Are modern day Robin Hoods saints for our times?

The first article was about a group of artists who have occupied a building in Mayfair and are using it as a venue for Art shows,  in order to raise money for homeless charities and also to showcase artistic talent.  The group are insistent that they are not squatters and that their purpose is not to defraud the owners of the building of the income they could have obtained by letting the building. In fact the building has been unoccupied for 12 years. To me it seems outrageous that a building in a prime location should be allowed to remain empty for so long. The value of the property will have deteriorated as no-one will have been caring for it over that time.

You can read the article here

The second article was about a Yorkshire vicar who advised his congregation to shop-lift from large stores, but to avoid robbing small businesses. Of course his entire sermon is not published, so I am wary of drawing too many conclusions from the small quotes given in the article. Nevertheless this priest has drawn attention to the plight of people who are desperate this Christmas, and he made the BBC headlines. The Yorkshire police called him irresponsible and a church spokesman said that “The Church of England does not advise anyone to shoplift”. As Dom Helder Camara said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”



  1. “The value of the property will have deteriorated as no-one will have been caring for it over that time.”
    Only 3 things affect the value of such a property and the state of repair isn’t one of them!

  2. have not heard the original either but I heard a snippet of an interview with the good Fr Jones on radio… and his point is not easy to refute (unless you hide behind the much touted “law and order”, “rule of law”, “civilized society”)…. “…. if you dont have a penny or the means to earn it, it is fair to be prosecuted for stealing an 80p bar of chocolate”

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