The Imbecile King who put his foot on the gas pedal – The Burning Platform

Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by John Galt

Source: The Imbecile King who put his foot on the gas pedal – The Burning Platform

Portrait of Joe Biden Charles II

I’m going to quote extensively from this article, which briefly summarizes the situation in 16th and 17th Century Spain, but you really should go read the whole thing at to see how it may apply to the United States. Pundits often liken the current situation in the US to the last days of Rome, but this may be for on point.

Charles was the product of several generations of inbreeding in the European noble family of the Habsburgs. His parents were uncle and niece and his grandparents were first cousins. “… Charles II was deformed, spindly, weak, constantly sick, and partially paralyzed. He was also referred to by his contemporaries as the ‘imbecile king’ for his slow-witted stupidity.”

One clear lesson from history is that empires tend to be extremely expensive… especially when you’re the dominant superpower, and all of your rivals are constantly waging war against you.

Spain was no exception. Their empire was extremely expensive to administer, and they were routinely engaged in costly wars.

… Spain’s debt became so vast that the government defaulted at least SEVEN TIMES between the mid 1500s and mid 1600s.

… the government also hiked taxes to exorbitant levels, including imposing a 14% sales tax.

[They] also … began rapidly expanding the money supply and debasing its own currency… resulting in one of the worst long-term episodes of inflation in all of human history up to that point.

Spain’s Emperors also began interfering heavily in trade and commerce; they passed rules granting special monopolies to favored businesses, essentially killing off competition, and they inserted extreme government bureaucracy into some of the most important industries like shipping and mining.

By the mid 1600s, …, trade, commerce, and production had all fallen out of favor. Traders and industrialists were viewed with suspicion instead of esteem.

… suddenly Spain found itself importing most of its goods and services from its chief rivals– France, England, and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile the Spanish Inquisition was busy killing off thousands of intellectuals… and condemning tens of thousands more to life imprisonment.

Their crime? Expressing independent thought that differed from the official narrative.

Spain’s message to the world was clear: freedom of thought had no place in the Empire. So anyone capable of innovation stayed as far away as possible.

[Finally], Spain had suffered a series of embarrassing military defeats from the late 1500s through the mid 1600s, including the Spanish Armada’s humiliating loss to the English in 1588.

Suddenly the rest of Europe realized that Spain was not invincible. The Empire was bankrupt, economically weak, socially decayed. And its military had been embarrassed.

[Then, in 1655,] Charles II took the throne.

In other words, a weak, mentally incompetent fool was put in charge of an Empire that was already in serious decline… and whose chief rivals were rising rapidly.

History doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes.

Ascribed to Mark Twain, but I can’t confirm it.