Just in case you might be thinking that the United States is the craziest country that has ever existed, I thought I would mention the Xhosa famine.
In early 1856, Nongqawuse, a teenage Xhosa girl, said that the spirits had told her that the Xhosa should destroy their crops and kill all their cattle. The spirits would then sweep the British into the sea, afterwards refilling the granaries and replacing the slaughtered cattle with more beautiful cattle.
Sarhili, the paramount chief of the Xhosa was convinced by this argument, and the Xhosa proceeded to implement the plan.
It didn’t work. Tens of thousands of the Xhosa starved to death.
Then there’s the battle of Alcazarquivir, in which Portugal made a go-for-broke invasion of Morocco – and went broke. Almost the entire army was killed or captured, along with the young King Sebastian and all the nobility. The King’s body was never found, and a cult of “Sebastianism” arose. You see, Sebastian is the sleeping king who will arise again in the time of need and presumably lead Portugal (and Brazil too, at slightly higher prices) to an even greater disaster.
There were plenty of record-setting cases of folly in the 20th century, but you’re already supposed to know them.
So relax. We’re not Number One in the funny farm of nations.