The biggest economic decline of the 17th Century

Since starting my RPC course on Western Civilization history, I have learned about things in European history that I didn’t even know happened and events that were incredibly devastating.  The French Wars of Religion and Oliver Cromwell’s tyrannical rule are just a few examples.  However, one event stands out and that is the economic decline of Spain in the 1600’s.

There were many contributing factors to the decline. Some things happened by coincidence, for example, Spain was struggling with famine and bubonic plague, for a couple of years already.  The famine had arisen from a sequence of poor harvests during the 1590’s, while the bubonic plague, more commonly known as Black Plague, struck in 1600 and lingered for a couple years, killing roughly 10% of the population after running its course.  This got the ball rolling down the path of decline, stressing the economy and all those who depended on its state of stability.  Other elements that were instrumental in the decline of Spain were poor and foolish choices made by those in power.  Philip III was King of Spain then, but he wasn’t the best leader.  He was the figure-head for the Spanish Government and nothing else.  He was not a dominant character, which, as a king, he should have been.  This made it easy for his dukes and advisors to sway and influence his decisions, which were not good.  For example, Philip, with the influence of corrupt men, decided to expel a people known as Moriscos out of Spain simply because of religious and cultural prejudices.  This expulsion was a major factor in the economic collapse and was the most catastrophic mistake that the economy suffered for.  This was one component that made the decline so catastrophic because Philip and the men that served for him were weakening the already economically stressed state of Spain.

While the plague and famine were very unfortunate, they weren’t as economically crushing as the expulsion of the Moriscos.  King Philip III, along with the bad influence of some advisors, decided that it would be worthwhile to expel 275,000+ Moriscos out of Spain.  The Moriscos were Christians whose Muslim ancestors had converted from Islam to Christianity.   Even though the Moriscos followed the state religion, their old customs and culture made them unpopular.  With these religious prejudices and unproven claims that the Moriscos were planning to band with pirates and invade the peninsula, the King and his lords, dukes and advisors all voted to get rid of them.  This was the biggest mistake those in power could have made.  This was the final blow to completing the obliteration of the Spanish economy because the Moriscos were a critical element of Spain’s agriculture-based economy.  The Moriscos helped with harvesting crops and were good workers.  Now, with them gone, many people were struggling to harvest the whole crop and were losing food.  Less farm-hands meant less harvest.  Some farmers even had to be stop growing certain labor-intensive crops and replace them with those that were easier to grow and harvest.  However, these new crops were less nutritious and not good staple foods.

This expulsion of the Moriscos was completely unnecessary and unfair to them because they didn’t have anywhere to go.  I believe that were completely innocent and were persecuted because of their religion and custom.

These events tipped the scales on decline.  The state of Spain had just lost 275,000 productive citizens, voters and workers.  These incidents forced Spanish government to take a couple of steps back and gain control of their economy and focus on the citizens’ needs.  This inauspicious episode in Spanish history and it’s decline during the 17th Century shows me just how susceptible an economy can be to power-motivated individuals and groups in a corrupt government.

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student


The Cell

Hello, and thank you for reading my first essay for the RPC Biology course!  I’m going to be sharing some of the things I’ve learned about the smallest and most basic unit of life–the cell.

Continue reading “The Cell”

A Turning Point

In his autobiography, The Persecutor, Sergei Kourdakov shares many experiences that can be considered turning points in his life.  One is when he finished schooling with the highest marks in his class, and another is when he joined the KGB.  Some were more important than others, but turning points nonetheless.  A turning point is, as described by the New Oxford American Dictionary, “a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results.” Reading his autobiography has helped me to examine some of my life and realize I’ve already had several events that have influenced who I am now or changed the expected course of my life.  I want to share with you one recent turning point of mine.

Continue reading “A Turning Point”


Glorious Revolution: Why is it Glorious?

This week’s post is about the Glorious Revolution during the 17th Century.  But what is it that makes it so glorious?  What was being revolutionized?

The Glorious Revolution started in 1688  and is famous, and named ‘Glorious’ for the fact that the throne was shifted from a legitimate ruler to an illegitimate one without civil war breaking out.  James II was King of England at the time.  Many people didn’t like James as their King because he was a Catholic.  After James’ father, Charles I, ruled as a Protestant and his older brother, Charles II, not having  a set religion when he was King, it now seemed, to the people, that James was wanting to re-establish Catholicism.  The people seemed to have good reason for believing this, too! James was consistently appointing Catholic priests and judges to assist him as King.  Even though James liked the idea of religious toleration, people did not trust him because he was Catholic.  They believed that he adopted religious toleration just so that Catholicism could be practiced again.  This fear of James re-introducing Catholicism and the fear of an absolutist rule scared the people, and seven Protestant nobles into asking William of Orange, the husband of James II’s eldest daughter, Mary II, for help with removing James from the throne.  James, not willing to fight William, just gathered his family and fled to France.

Here is what made the revolution so glorious.  The throne was taken without any civil war or fighting!   William and Mary then took back the throne, which people were very happy about because both William and Mary were Protestant.

William and Mary then created the Bill of Rights which sets the King’s power apart from Parliament’s power.  It stated that the King would no longer have as much power as before.  You can read the entire Bill of Rights here

Never before in history had such an illegitimate transfer of power gone so smoothly!  James was the legitimate ruler and William was not, but he was trying still to take the throne. This illegitimate claim to the throne alone would have been enough to start a war, but the whole revolution went without any bloodshed or violence.

Some may feel that James was a coward for giving up his throne without a fight.  I actually feel that James was wise.  He likely knew that staying and fighting would probably be the worst thing that could happen to his people.  I believe that he would rather save his people and sacrifice his reign instead of  putting them through a war.  He knew he would probably lose anyway. Not even his own subjects, liked him so why would they support him?  I also feel that people were so caught up in their own fear and so afraid of the past that they completely overlooked giving  James a chance to prove himself.   James was the rightful king, but his power had been usurped anyway!  All because he was accused of possibly introducing Catholicism back into England.

Whether he would have reinstated Catholicism as the state religion or not, I feel he still should’ve been given a chance.

Quinn Palmer


A Change of Heart(-attack)

In my English Course for the Ron Paul Curriculum, I was asked to read the book: A Bus of My Own by James Lehrer.  James Lehrer, more casually known as Jim Lehrer, was a news reporter and fictional writer during the 1950’s.  He retired in 2011 as a news-anchor for the PBS NewsHour.

There was one part, however, where Mr. Lehrer goes through a heart-attack.  The part that I found interesting was not the heart-attack itself, but that the heart-attack literally changed his life.

Mr. Lehrer survived the heart-attack and didn’t suffer any permanent physical or mental damage.    His lifestyle had to change though, and he knew it.

Lehrer decided to change his current diet, which he described as that “of a pimply faced fifteen year-old.”  He didn’t like the new diet at first, but it was loads healthier for him.   He admitted that he was a big smoker for quite a while and that his smoking was probably what caused the attack.  He also said though that because of the attack, he no longer felt the desire or need to smoke.  Previous times, he had tried to quit but it never stuck.  It always came back.  Now, the desire to smoke was simply gone.

When he got back to work he made sure that he made time to take regular naps between airing times and other work.  He found that he had more time to write fiction.  He only had one other novel already published previously and had not had published anything after that.

The heart attack brought about a sudden urge for Mr. Lehrer to change his lifestyle and become better.  It was a good heart attack!  Those are probably two words you never thought you would hear put together: ‘good’ and ‘heart-attack!’

So, although Mr. Lehrer was able to turn his life around and start doing things he enjoyed, not many people are able to go through a heart-attack and survive.   What I feel I can take from this is that, I don’t have time to not do things that make me happy.  To surround myself with friends and family and to make life something worth living.   I guess it takes a near-death experience to be able to appreciate life.

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student


The First Libertarians

This week in my Western Civilization course on the Ron Paul Curriculum, I learned about the Levellers, the first organized Libertarian society.  Now, I will answer this question from my instructor: Dr. Tom Woods.

Who were the Levellers, and what did they believe in?”

(Just a quick note, all words or sentences in “” are from a quote I will be sharing with you later.)

The Levellers, a political movement during the 17th Century, were one of the first libertarian societies to exist.  I am sure others in the past had considered these ideas but not with the same intent of creating a party.  Please do not confuse this group with another group called the Diggers.  The Diggers and Levellers couldn’t be more different.  While the Levellers believed in private property, the Diggers believed in common property.  They were the exact opposite from each other.

Levellers were libertarian but who are they and what do they believe in?  Their leaders and founders were these three men:

  • Richard Overton
  • John Lilburne
  • William Walwyn

These men, together, were able to create a whole system of how things should be run from a libertarian perspective.  This included certain rights like, private property, self-ownership and religious freedom.

Now, if what I said didn’t make any sense, just read this quote by Murray Rothbard,  he was an economist, libertarian and professor at Mises Institute.  This is what he said about the 17th Century libertarians:

the world’s first self-consciously libertarian movement. … In a series of notable debates within the Republican Army — notably between the Cromwellians and the Levellers — the Levellers led by John Lilburne, Richard Overton and William Walwyn, worked out a remarkably consistent libertarian doctrine, upholding the rights of self-ownership, private property, religious freedom for the individual, and minimal government interference in society. The rights of each individual to his person and property, furthermore, were natural, that is, they were derived from the nature of man. … And therefore were not dependent on, nor could they be abrogated by government. And while the economy was scarcely a primary focus of the Levellers, their adherence to a free market economy was a simple derivation from their stress on liberty and the rights of private property.”

This quote just summed up everything that I was talking about!  Rothbard explains who the Libertarians were and who they were led by.  He also explained what their beliefs were.   I don’t think there is much more for me to explain.  Here is where I got the quote, if you are interested in learning more about the Levellers.

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student




This week in my Western Civilization class for the Ron Paul Curriculum, I was taught about the Eutopians and their ideas.  I now have been asked by my instructor, Dr. Tom Woods, to answer this question:

“What kinds of ideas were the “eutopians” promoting? Why is it perhaps not a coincidence that this desire to rethink the organization of society emerged in the sixteenth century in particular?”

In 16th Century Europe, there were a group of people that believed in the idea of a “eutopian” society.  No, I did not spell eutopia incorrectly and you can read what utopia/eutopia really means here and what the ‘eu’ in eutopia means here.  the end result is that the word utopia, which means ‘no place’ can now mean ‘good place’ because of the ‘eu’ placed in front of it.  People believed that a ‘utopia’ could not exist, but that a ‘eutopia’ could because it meant a ‘good place.’

These people believed that we needed to create a eutopia, a place where all the problems that the world has don’t exist.  It was a perfect society, but not a society that allowed you your agency and your freedom.  You couldn’t have private property, you had to follow government rule without complaining and you probably wouldn’t have trade with any other countries.  These are just a few of the concepts, theories and ideas that many eutopian followers believed in.    Here are some others:

  • A money free society and economy
  • Belief that marriage and alcohol were reasons why we didn’t have a eutopia
  • They believed everyone needed to work
  • They wanted a self-sufficient economy

But, what made these ideas so intriguing in the 16th Century?  Why were these ideas all of sudden just now being talked and heard of?   The answer is, in fact, the timing.  During the 16th Century, Europe was expanding it’s horizons.  New things were being explored, and studied.  New countries, continents, sciences and philosophies.  Europe was finally beginning to understand that people on the other side of the world had a way, a system, on how things were run and they flourished.  They began to realize that they didn’t have to do the same as they always had.

Even though this eutopian philosophy was not very successful and may not ever be used, the new way the people in Europe now looked at things was a step in the right direction to becoming a new country as a whole.




Three Stories I Would Use in My Autobiography

In this English course,  I am preparing and learning how to create and write an autobiography.   For this first assignment,  I am going to share three stories that I would use in my autobiography.

Story 1:  My Jeep

When I was between the ages of three and five, my family lived in Okinawa, Japan.  While living there, my dad had convinced me that Jeeps were the coolest thing ever!  We owned one while living there and my dad also had an old 1954 Willy’s Jeep back in the States.

We would drive around in our cul-de-sac over and over.  So, because I loved riding in the Jeep so much, my parents decided to get me my own electric battery, drive-around Jeep.  The day I got it, my dad asked me if I wanted to go take a ride in the Jeep and I, of course, said “yes!”  So we walked outside.  When I saw the toy Jeep, I looked at it for a moment, then continued to walk towards our real Jeep complaining,  “No, not that Jeep!”

Eventually, I did come to love my very own Jeep.

Story 2:  Lost in Korea

While living in Korea, I had to catch a city bus from the Air Force Base to my family’s apartment.  So, for two days in a row, my dad helped me practice and know which bus to get on and where to get off and each time we got off safe and sound.  However, the next day, my dad couldn’t come with me and so when I hopped on to the bus, which was a little more crowded than normal, I was a little nervous.  Normally, on my bus there are just a couple old Korean grandmas. I didn’t think much of it until we took a wrong turn to the right instead of the left!

A little confused and lost, I rode all the way to the end of the buses’ route at a college where it turned around and started going back the other direction.  I was already so lost and couldn’t call my mom because I didn’t have a phone!  I asked the bus driver if he was going to my stop and he said no.  I got off at the next stop and decided to wait for another bus.  I stood waiting, just a foreign kid who had no idea where he was, for fifteen minutes with no bus coming.  I decided to take a risk and flag down a taxi.  I would not have done this had my dad not given me some money the night before.  I had about $5 in Korean money.

When I got in the taxi, I was still a little confused and scared and I told the driver to take me to my bus stop.  My bus stop?!  I don’t know why I didn’t tell the man to take me to my apartment.  While we were driving, I was carefully watching the fare counter and making sure that I didn’t go over what I had.  When we pulled up to my stop, I fished out the one bill I had, and the counter ticked over to 5,000 won!  It was a good thing I had asked him, unthinkingly, to take me to my bus stop.  If I had asked him to take me to my apartment, it would have been another half mile and not enough money!  That was a close one!  When I got out, I started to run and didn’t stop until I had gotten to my door!  My mom was pretty worried!

I didn’t have any problems after that because I figured out what had tricked me that day.  Just a little reversible red and blue sign with different destinations on it.  My dad and I had just coincidentally gotten on the right bus those first two practice times.  The blue side takes me to my stop, and the red sign takes me the college where I got lost.

Really wish I had known that before I got myself lost.

Although, it makes for a great story.

Story 3:  Aunt Sharon

In late summer of 2016, my family went up for a visit to my dad’s family’s cabin in Colorado. While we were there, I got to meet my great-great Aunt Sharon for the very first time.  I didn’t even know I had an Aunt Sharon!  She was so nice and sweet, and I was touched that she wanted to get to know me.  She asked me questions and I was able to have a nice conversation with her.  She was only there for a day but it felt really good to get to know her.

A couple of months later my family received an email that Aunt Sharon had just passed away from a form cancer.  I couldn’t believe it.  When we saw her, she looked healthy and alive.  She didn’t seem sad or depressed like someone who knew that they only had a few months left to live.  Now I know why she didn’t tell us.  She was probably worried telling us would dampen our day at the cabin.  She obviously didn’t to wish to put that burden on us.  She was a great example of how to be strong and unwavering in faith and spirit, even when she knew that this was likely the first and last time to meet me.  The amazing thing was that she made it feel that we would see her again next year and even invited us to come visit her sometime in Austin, Texas.  I barely got to know my Aunt Sharon for a couple hours, and that was enough to make me cry when I heard of her passing.


Quinn Palmer

RPC Student and Soon-to-be auto-biographer


Q&A with Quinn Palmer on Business and Robots

Hello, and welcome to QUINNtessential News.  Tonight we interview a teenager whose name is, coincidentally, Quinn!   The program will be a Q&A based around this question:  “Why is running my own business a way to guarantee my employment in 2030?”

Lets begin!

Q: “Quinn how do you feel about this question?”

A: “Actually I feel that, even though I haven’t started a business, being an entrepreneur can be quite a risk and may be hard.  I believe though that there are many advantages to doing it this way:  One, how can you get fired or let go from a job you created and own?  You can still go out of business, but other than that you are pretty safe from getting let go or losing your job.”

Q:  “Yes, that’s true.  We see almost daily that thousands of people get let go or fired because, for example, robots taking up jobs and them being more efficient than humans.   Do you feel that this may be a threat to your progression in a self-owned business?”

A:   “As of right now and twenty years into the future?  No.  Mostly because robots are currently being designed to take over ‘routine jobs’. Jobs you don’t need a college degree or years in college for.  In fact, because of all these robots, it will open up new doors in the working field and create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.  Someone can be a code, or a robot repair-man.  Makes me think of Star Wars! A robotic revolution is probably coming, but it shouldn’t be something to be afraid of.  We should be getting ready for and anticipating it.”

Alright, thank you very much Quinn for joining me, but unfortunately that is all the time we have tonight, so thank you again and good night.

Quinn Palmer

RPC Student and future business owner


Selling As Service

This week, as part of my Business Course in the Ron Paul Curriculum I finished a book called Selling as Service written by Harry Brown, a business entrepreneur.  I really enjoyed reading this book.  You would be surprised by how simple, logical and easy it is to understand what he explains in his book! If you are interested in selling, I encourage you to get a copy of this book. It is also available as an eBook.

Now, my instructor, Dr. Gary North would like me to answer this question: “How does Harry Brown’s approach to selling rely on the principle of service?”

Continue reading “Selling As Service”