It goes without saying that the Biden (Brandon?) administration is an unmitigated catastrophe. A year in, the word “humiliation” indeed is the best descriptor, as I predicted it would be a year ago. In fact, that may be an understatement. “Dark age” may be a better epithet for what we’re seeing now. Not only is Joe Biden radical, incompetent, corrupt, and senile, he actively belittles the population of the country he’s supposed to lead. This is an almost perfect poker hand for bad leadership, but just how high (or low) is his hand? To measure just how bad of a leader Joe Biden is, we will have to plumb the depths of historically bad leaders.
First, let’s use the process of elimination. Clearly, Joe Biden is not on the level of leaders like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the French Revolution, and so on. His regime resembles them in the year zero messianic delusion, but fortunately, without the power to enact what they did. He may be able to send out his culture warriors and unofficial foot soldiers, but fortunately, they are of much less consequence than the official Red Guards, Gestapo, Checka, and Khmer Rogue.
He is not like them because he lacks the power and competence to carry out such campaigns.
The Weakling Mid-19th Century Presidents
An example closer to home springs to mind when talking about the Joe Biden administration. These are the mid-19th century presidents between the Mexican War and the Civil War – Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan. Although these men did not have the radicalism of Joe Biden or his dementia, they resemble him in his impotency as the country crumbles around him.
Both unwilling and unable to address the real issues of the day, they were basically just there. Unfortunately, Joe Biden is not basically just there, but actively harms and belittles his own people, which they did not. In this sense, he is worse than they as a leader. The only thing that currently prevents him from being a worse president is that their moral failing of slavery and the Civil War is currently of much greater magnitude than Brandon’s. Still, in his characteristics, Joe Biden greatly resembles them.
Akhenaten presents another plausible case. One parallel immediately stands out. Like what happened to Egypt during Akhenaten’s reign, the United States is growing weaker in international affairs. As the Hittites rose to superpower status under their greatest king, Suppiliulima I, in our own time, China and its latter-day emperor, Xi Jinping, is using proxies (and information warfare), to change the international order in its favor. The Amarna Letters are clear that Suppiliulima considered Akhenaten too weak or uncaring to stop him, given his constant pressure on Egypt’s Asiatic territories. 20 years of pleas for help went unanswered. In foreign policy, the example of Akhenaten might just be appropriate.
Another parallel with Akhenaten stands out as well – the reduced standards of living for the people closest to him, at least. The living standards in his new capital, the “horizon of the Aten,” were worse than elsewhere in Egypt. For the privilege of participating in their king’s cultural revolution, Ahketaten’s residents were usually dead in their early 20s.
The Joe Biden regime isn’t that bad, of course, but it is interesting that they seek to lower living standards in deference to their own cultural-religious movement, that being “climate change,” and other associated woke acts. Fortunately, Joe Biden also lacks the charisma, power, and competence of Akhenaten, making him far less of a threat.
Charles I of England, Scotland, and Ireland (and more broadly, the House of Stuart of which he was a part) presents a clearer parallel. Like Charles and many of his kin, Joe Biden is both incompetent and arrogant. He believes that there is no proper limit to his power. In fact, he’s even worse than Charles and the Stuarts in one regard. They believed that they would need to hold themselves to account to God for the way they ruled, as they were only His worldly trustees.
The Joe Biden regime, on the other hand, sees no limit to their power, worldly or otherwise, except what they can’t get away with. This is why they’re trying to change voting rules, for example, and end the Senate filibuster. It is an attitude and arrogance reminiscent of Charles I, complete with his willingness to interfere in matters that bring him no advantage.
For example, the troubles in Charles’ reign began when he tried to force Anglicanism on Presbyterian Scotland. The Scots, who considered Anglicanism soft Popery, revolted against this, forcing Charles to recall the English Parliament which had earlier given him so much trouble. His intransigence brought war to England and Ireland, too.
Charles’ incompetence, arrogance, and contempt for the centers which could check his power (Parliament, the gentry, the Scottish Kirk) strongly resemble the Joe Biden regime.
Despite this, Joe Biden has none of Charles I’s dignity. A look at the final hour of his life would only elicit respect (the account is in Lives of the Luminaries). Charles also never insulted the English people as a whole, and he was not a revolutionary radical. He also wasn’t senile.
As a leader, Joe Biden resembles Charles I in many ways. He has many of Charles’ negative characteristics, with none of his positives. Fortunately, he also lacks the power Charles had.
Qin Shi Huang
The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ended centuries of civil war and unified the country that still bears his name for the first time. This was an act of strength that Joe Biden doesn’t have. Instead, this regime has many of the negative characteristics of Qin’s regime.
Qin Shi Huang, for understandable reasons, sought to establish uniformity throughout his new realm. Unfortunately, this meant tyrannical practices and the imposition of an ancient police state. This tyrannical apparatus was meant to enforce uniformity under the new emperor no matter the cost, leading to intellectual and cultural purges. In this, the Qin Shi Huang regime greatly resembles the Brandon administration’s characteristics. It too, is on a mission to create a uniformity of all under woke technocracy, through ruthless Chinese-inspired covid mandates, and a “Domestic War on Terror” against its political opponents.
Qin Shi Huang even began to show mental incapacity in his reign because he ingested mercury in a vain attempt to find immortality.
The authoritarian regime of Qin Shi Huang offers an ancient mirror into this administration. Fortunately, it lacks the same power, but it is doing what it can. It also provides none of the public order that Qin Shi Huang did.
Nero and Caligula
Finally, Nero and Caligula offer enlightening examples. Like Joe Biden, they were not mentally stable (though their issues were of a different sort than his). Like him, they were weak men, who could not maintain their authority, even with the absolute power that they had. Like him, Nero and Caligula belittled their populations, while providing no public goods in return. Nero infamously started to build a splendid new palace for himself, the Domus Aurea, in a large area cleared out by the Great Fire of Rome.
There is a difference between the two in that Nero had some support among the lower class citizens of Rome because of the entertainment he provided, but these came with high taxes, and did much to undermine the dignity of his office. Caligula, meanwhile, descended further into insanity and cruelty throughout his reign. We can say much the same for Joe Biden, while he has little true support among the lower classes of the country.
*Note: If you want to see more insights in character and how it impacts leadership, join my email list to stay up to date, as I write about these topics frequently. You can join it here:
He rivals the mid-19th century presidents in their domestic weakness.
He is as authoritarian as Qin Shi Huang, but with none of the public order he provided.
He is as arrogant as Charles I, but with none of his dignity.
He is as radical domestically and weak internationally as Akhenaten.
He resembles Caligula and Nero in their weakness, mental incapacity, and belittlement of the public.
Fortunately, we must reiterate that Joe Biden lacks the power that these men had, once again proving the wisdom of America’s Founding Fathers. Still, Joe Biden carries a terrible combination of characteristics. I predicted a year ago that this time would be the worst of America’s Long Humiliation, but as mentioned above, we are getting past that now, and veering toward dark age territory, such is the state of this “leadership.” I just hope we can get through the next three years without a major, acute crisis of the kind which changes the balance of international power, and knocks America off its perch as the leading world power. The risk is elevated as long as the Joe Biden regime is in charge.
When looking back at these enfeebled leaders, we see another interesting dynamic – they came at a time of dynastic weakness. Through their actions, they undermined their dynasties and left them ripe for conquest by a younger, more competent rival. Even in American history, various presidential administrations can be loosely grouped in dynasties, or more properly party systems (see Stumped for more).
The Joe Biden regime feels like the end of a dynasty – the post-Cold War/Boomer Dynasty. Meanwhile, a would-be conqueror, Ron DeSantis, is increasingly making his intentions clear. The question now is whether he can arrive in time.
Florida is a free state, and we intend to keep it that way. pic.twitter.com/60TjJ7TOWG
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 21, 2022
For more on the characteristics of good and bad leadership, read Lives of the Luminaries.