Why only populism can save the left

Populism is hated by leftist parties. With the advance of populist parties, the left is collapsing like a house of cards. Do both phenomena have something to do with each other?

What exactly is populism?

A subdivision into political directions popular among political scientists is populism, elitism and other directions (for example liberalism, religious or green politics) that remain outside the populist versus elitist discourse. Populism is a political vision in which an elite is held responsible for exploiting the population, or part of the population. Well-known populist parties in the Netherlands are the PVV and the SP.

A populist song, the Socialist International. Source:

Awake, rejected of the earth

The most populist message ever from the nineteenth century came from the unadulterated left: the writer and philosopher Karl Marx. He developed the Marxist ideology of a class struggle. This discourse is essentially populist. After all, the capitalist class exploits the proletarian class. Marx's call for proletarians worldwide to unite to create a classless society is essentially a populist discourse. Namely: calls for the overthrow of the bourgeois-capitalist elite, which exploits the proletarians. The milder left-wing variant of socialism is also essentially populist.

Unlike modern right-wing populists, classic left-wing populism is internationalist. Marxism sees robbery capitalism as a global problem, exploiting indigenous workers as well as colonized peoples in the rest of the world.

The incoherence of the modern left

The core values of the left are equality, brotherhood and the emancipation of the oppressed. A purely thinking left person will therefore always take sides for the oppressed man, for self-development and for solidarity. And, with this, reject any ideology that divides people.

At the moment, among left-wing parties such as the Green Left and the PvdA, it is bon ton to defend Islam as a victim of oppression by the mainstream culture, while Islam is an extremely patriarchal, homophobic and sexist belief.

Left-wing parties are also in favor of a meat tax, van energy taxes and strict environmental requirements. These mainly affect the poor. Food spending is a big chunk of minimum income budgets. By a meat tax meat is only affordable for the rich. With their energy taxes, the poor pay for subsidized solar parks and wind turbines from major international investors. Foreign giants such as Microsoft and Google are happy to use the subsidized green energy for their data centers and park the millions of profits made in a tax haven. In places where beautiful, environmentally friendly and above all affordable homes for people with a low and middle income could have been built in the green, with solar panels on the roof, ugly large solar parks are being built that will make the rich even richer.

Partly due to environmental activists calling themselves left, social housing has stopped. The scarce social housing is becoming increasingly scarce because of the massive immigration. The achievements for which the labor movement has fought hard, such as the scholarship, have disappeared. Because of the neoliberals, certainly, but also because of the betrayal of the left to the rejected in the Netherlands and the rest of the earth.

How can the left regain its power?

All truly successful left movements were nationalistic to some degree. Think of the Vietcong and other left-wing liberation movements. Difference between fascism and left is that nationalism of left movements is inclusive and does not distinguish between different ethnic groups. The populist left sees the entire population as victims of the exploitation practices of the international colonizer or their successors, the international robber capitalists. Not just the ethnic minorities, such as the identitarian left. Not just the largest ethnic group, such as right-wing populists. Everybody.

Today, the elite is neoliberal and globalist. The European Union and the neoliberal world order are working out well for multinational companies and the highly educated people who work for them. They import products from low-wage countries for little money and sell them to the local population for a lot of money. They channel the profits to a tax haven. They close factories in the Netherlands and reopen them in Eastern Europe or China. Other companies hire underpaid Eastern European workers to do dangerous and unpleasant work. Globalization thus benefits the elite, while the underclass bears the consequences in the form of unaffordable houses, low wages, unemployment and poor working conditions.

Populist left

There is one left party that stands up for the exploited underclass as well as for the exploited Eastern Europeans. That is the Socialist Party. The SP realizes that in its current form the European Union is primarily a neoliberal party, but that it turns out badly for its own employees. The commonly used argument that cheap workers strengthen international competitiveness is incorrect. Time and again it appears that it is mainly high labor productivity that strengthens the local economy. And you achieve this through experienced, well-trained employees who are an inseparable part of the company. Where the company and the employees go through fire for each other and go hard to make the best products in the world. Not by exploited flex workers.

We are not helping the poor in the rest of the world by letting in asylum seekers in bunches at a time. We do help them with visionary development aid and by removing unfair trade barriers and tax treaties.

An entrepreneur who can only survive on low-lithium is not worth a wink and should go bankrupt as soon as possible.

Cybernetic Government: AI as Prime Minister

We humans do not excel in integrity politically. What if we opt for a cybernetic government, i.e. appoint an AI as government?

The first months of 2021 were not a peak of democracy. Once again, parties came to power that excel in short-term politics, cheat voters time and again and act against the interests of the Netherlands. What if we leave politics to computer algorithms? Futurologists seriously consider a future society that is primarily cybernetic in nature.

In fact, more has come from cybernetic government politics than many people realize. Econometrician and feared, because expert and conscientious Member of Parliament Pieter Omtzigt (CDA) stated in his book A new social contract (2021), which for an outsider is nonsensical government policy intended to make purchasing power models correct. A good example of Omtzigt is the new employed person's tax credit in the 2021 Tax Plan. Politics wants to do “something nice” for the middle class. So politicians invents a complicated employed person's tax credit that is maximum for people with a middle income of around 40,000 euros. Not coincidentally the electoral group of the ruling coalition.

Cybernetic government is not as far away as we realize. The reason for the existence of this bizarre scheme is the purchasing power of the middle class, according to the CPB calculation model. That must be correct, the VVD thought. Source: National Government of the Netherlands

The Secrets of the Cybernetic Government

These models are secret according to good Dutch political practice. Just like the epidemiological models of the RIVM, which support the covid-19 decisions and which are scientifically controversial.

If computers already largely dominate the Netherlands anyway, could we not make this process more transparent? Why should we have lying, blundering and spinning politicians as intermediaries between the voter and the calculation model? Why not directly disclose the source code of the algorithms that govern us? And give us a say? It's time for that psychohistory?

Eldorica, more prosperity with less work

The Club of Rome report came out about half a century ago. What if we had listened then? The visionary book Eldorica by the late Jurriaan Andriessen (1951-1991) explores the possibilities.

Consumer society: cheap is expensive

Not only do we consume much more now than, say, a century ago. The stuff we use also lasts much shorter. Compare something as simple as scissors. Good tailor's scissors, from the Swiss brand Victorinox, for example, cost around forty euros, but with careful maintenance, will last a lifetime. A pair of scissors from a Chinese manufacturer that works with razor-thin margins and underpaid employees costs around two euros at the hedge fund firm Action. This may last a few weeks with intensive use.

There may be three times as much raw material in Victorinox scissors as in Action scissors, but this is negligible compared to the raw material in the hundreds of Chinese tailor scissors. What if we bought these quality scissors right away and avoid the clutter of the Action? That would save a lot of environmental pollution, unnecessary work and energy. This is exactly the rationale behind the late Jurriaan Brouwer's utopian society Eldorica.

Eldorica: a luxury car for everyone

In the Netherlands, 400,000 new cars are sold per year, with an average of around 35,000 euros each. These last an average of twenty years. But what if each of these new cars lasted a hundred years, for example because their build quality is five times better? Then we could spend five times as much on this car. In other words, a luxury Rolls Royce or Tesla for everyone. Or, a much lower amount, so that we would have to work less.

This sustainable luxury car for Eldorica consists of the raw materials of the cars, which are driven through in our society. (c) Jurriaan H. Andriessen

Fitness center? No, generate energy yourself

Eldorica is not for lazy people, although you would say that at first glance with a four-hour working week. Because you generate the energy for your household appliances yourself. The exercise bike in Eldorica is there to power your TV set, radio and music system. Our body can generate about two hundred watts of power. So an hour or two of cycling and swinging provides enough energy for an evening of watching TV (Eldorica dates back to before the advent of the personal computer). Everything that can be done by hand is manually operated. That also saves electricity. Cars are only available for longer journeys. There is a covered bicycle for rides up to five kilometers. Aircraft and oil tankers do not occur in Eldorica. Instead, Andriessen imagined zeppelins and computer-controlled sailing ships.

Only those devices that really cannot do without power, such as TVs, work on power in Eldorica. These are charged via crank wheels and an exercise bike. The rest is manually operated. (c) Jurriaan H. Andriessen

Could Eldorica be possible?

In short: yes, if we had a meritocratic and technocratic administration, without incompetent and lying politicians. Admittedly, with a few adjustments - for example, the temporary use of nuclear energy to lay the foundation for a sustainable energy supply cannot be avoided, and solar panels are more practical than his exercise bike power station. And he didn't think about anything as prosaic as heating houses. Or healthcare.

Capitalism will also have to be replaced by a form of managed economy. Eldorica's economic system can be seen as one of a kind luxury techno communism. It is not without reason that Jurriaan Andriessen strongly emphasized a computer-controlled (cybernetic) form of governance.

Unfortunately we can no longer ask Jurriaan himself. He died in a tragic accident in a swimming pool in 1991 at the age of 39. The Jurriaan Andriessen foundation was established in memory. His book Eldorica, a travelogue to a better world (ISBN: 9789027424846) is unfortunately no longer in print, but is still available second-hand. There are also PDF scans of the book in circulation.

More information

Theme website graphic work Jurriaan H. Andriessen and Eldorica
Jurriaan H. Andriessen Foundation

Invisible wealth must be forbidden

Of the majority of the world's possessions, only a small number of people know who they really are. They are invisible wealth. Why is this allowed?

Visible wealth

The differences in prosperity in a small-scale society such as a village are relatively small. The reason is simple. It is known of every villager what he owns and where that wealth comes from. So if a villager is very rich, the other villagers will more often ask the wealthy to take his responsibility. For example to sponsor poor villagers or a common project. By nature, people love equality. As a rich person, keeping all wealth to yourself makes you little loved by the rest. Hence, only when property becomes anonymous do the differences in prosperity become too great.

Often neoliberals see poor people as parasites, who contribute nothing net to the system. That's bullshit. If a cleaner and a garbage collector would earn ten times as much from their work as they do now, they would be “great contributors”. At least, according to the accountant, then. In the Covid-19 crisis we saw how important the work of the lowest paid workers is. Shelf fillers turned out to be indispensable. Bag fillers don't.

Invisible wealth rules the world. What are we doing about it? - Predjama Castle, author: Stephen Colebourne from London, UK

Where is the invisible wealth?

A well-known way of making wealth invisible is trust, in full: trust of foundation. The recipe is simple. The wealthy “trustor” transfers his assets to a foundation. And from that moment on, the wealth is invisible. In the meantime, this foundation is under the management of administrators, the trustees. The trustees manage the trustor's assets. This one has nothing to say officially. He does, however, enjoy the benefits of ownership. These trusts are common. Not only for private individuals, but also for multinationals.

The trust is just one example of a legal entity. A legal entity is an invention from the nineteenth century. The local supermarket is not owned by a person, but by a BV (bvba) or NV. If this BV goes bankrupt, the creditors can whistle for their money. A popular trick is to load one BV with debts. This BV subsequently goes bankrupt. And simsalabim, the debts are gone. In the meantime, the tax authorities have become wiser, but this type of fraud still occurs regularly.

Invisible wealth, power without control

Large companies are now owned by one worldwide web of investment firms and hedge funds. These funds often also have shares in each other. It has become an inextricable tangle. A money machine that extort a large part of the world and distribute the proceeds to a small group of the super rich. Nobody is responsible. They pay less and less tax, but can use the protections of the states where they operate for free.

For example, if someone disrupts the order in a StarBucks cafe, or comes to rob the place, the police will come. If you start a restaurant under the name "StarBucks", the police will come to the door for a violation of StarBucks trademark law. That costs the Dutch and Belgian state, and therefore us, money. Yet Starbuck pays hardly any tax, due to a sophisticated construction [1]. That means the company is parasitizing the societies where they plug their expensive coffee full of unhealthy sugars.

StarBucks is not unique in this. Worldwide, companies such as Starbucks and Action societies and immensely enrich their owners. They cut wages and increase costs by charging ever-higher prices for their products and licenses. For example, Microsoft receives five to ten dollars for almost every Android phone sold [2]. The reason: the package of software licenses, with which Microsoft threatens to sue smartphone makers. As a result, smartphones are becoming more and more expensive.

How can this invisible wealth be addressed?

Ownership is one negative law. Namely, it gives one person or group of people exclusive right to a certain item, for example the patent on a certain technology or country, to the exclusion of others. There are certain obligations against this right. For example, the duty to contribute to the land in which the property is recognized through the payment of tax. At this point, the owners are escaping this duty by hiding. They benefit from legal protection for their property, but do not pay for it. They violate the social contract.

Time, then, to get our share of it social contract also no longer to be met. If a homeless person in StarBucks makes a fuss, the police can stay home. If Warda and Joost “illegally” start a new Starbucks café without a license, have the mayor do the opening and wholeheartedly recommend it to the local fool.

Of course they are too patents of companies that do not pay tax are no longer valid. We invite smartphone manufacturers to start producing without royalties here in the Netherlands and Belgium. Bet these companies pray and beg to pay their taxes properly from now on?


  1. This is how Starbucks avoids tax, Arjan Noorlander, NOS, 2014
  2. Analyst: Microsoft gets $5 for every HTC Android phone, ZDNet, 2011

Mini houses, a bizarre dozen explore the boundaries

If you can ignore nonsensical rules such as the Building Decree, an explosion of creativity will arise. Get acquainted here with the spirit products of ten inventors, who explore the concept of mini houses to the very extreme.

Not every design will appeal to everyone. But after watching this video, your understanding of what a habitable house means, probably a lot extensively. The emphasis in the video is on round shapes. Because where in nature do you come across boxes of blocks?

Abod Shelter mini houses

The Abod design by Abod Shelters is very suitable for refugees in tropical areas. For an amount under five thousand euros, a family can find shelter in a full-fledged, small house.

The design, from Abod Shelter in South Africa, is versatile and can also be combined with other houses in larger units. Both for shelter, as for clinics and workshops. Because the design consists of light corrugated sheets, it is easy to transport. You can load an entire village on a truck. That also happens regularly. The design is in reasonable demand, even in Tanzania and Ghana.

The nice thing about this design is that it lasts a long time and is maintenance-free. Construction can be carried out by fairly clever unskilled workers. So if you have a ton in the bank and you want to improve your inky karma, this is the solution.

Abod mini houses can be built by a group of volunteers in one day. The corrugated iron construction makes the design less suitable for use outside the tropics. Source / copyright: Abod

The disadvantage of this design is the noise, when a heavy tropical monsoon rain beats the corrugated iron. This may be solved with a thatched roof. Although that is a source of vermin in the tropics.

The thermal insulation is of course also quite sparse, but that is usually less of a problem in the tropical belt in Africa. The white lacquer prevents overheating in the blazing sun. [1]

More information: Abod website

Left and right distinction is now possible via facial recognition

Researchers developed an AI algorithm that in 70% of the cases on a face can distinguish left and right in voting behavior.

The election battle between left and right in USA ran high at the end of 2020. Source: Wikipedia

In discussions between left and right, it often seems as if two different human species are talking to each other. Nowadays left and right talk more and more past each other.

They see the other as alien. Mostly left has a hand in this and reacts more emotionally. An important distinction is also that left-wing voters show more emotions in their face than right-wing voters.

Not clear why left and right look different

The annoying thing about neural networks is that they can make a reasonably accurate prediction, but not on the basis of which they make that prediction. The researchers were therefore unable to pinpoint exactly what kind of facial features their system correlated with political affiliation, but they did find some trends. Like the attitude of someone's head.

The degree to which some form of facial expression could be seen in the photos also seemed to provide some clues. For example, people who looked directly into the camera, a favorite hobby of ex-VVD politician Wiegel, who is known for his conservatism, usually judged the algorithm to be more progressive. Those who looked away and showed disgust, therefore ended up on the “conservative” pile.

Difficult to replicate

Repeating this research by others, an absolute requirement in science, is difficult. After all, the photos and political preferences on which their algorithm has been trained contain pretty privacy-sensitive information. Other researchers will therefore have to create their own collection of left and right voters and apply the algorithm to this.

That is only going to be difficult, now that the proportions are so polarized. And this correlation may not be correct outside the (California) target groups from which the researchers obtained their data ...

How can you use this knowledge as a spin doctor?

The intention is to allow voters of your political preference to vote, and to discourage others from voting. For example, you could identify left and right voters by means of facial recognition. If you want mainly left-wing voters to vote, you can appeal to them and encourage them to vote. You want to deprive right-wing voters of the desire to vote with cynical jokes about the “pocket-filling politicians”.

Michal Kosinski. Facial recognition technology can expose political orientation from naturalistic facial images, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-020-79310-1

No Human is Illegal: The Consequences of Mass Immigration

The Netherlands and Belgium are popular as a country of residence. No person is illegal, says Bij1. What are the consequences if establishment in the Netherlands and Belgium is legal for everyone?

Population increases by 40 percent due to “no human being is illegal”

According to a Gallup poll, around 700 million people worldwide want to migrate if they had the opportunity. About one percent, seven million, wants to move to the Netherlands. Belgium is less known and smaller. That is why fewer people want to move to Belgium: around two million, seems likely. Seven million new Dutch and two million new Belgians would mean that the population of the Netherlands and Belgium with 40 resp. 20 percent would grow. And the Netherlands is not even the most popular migration country. Switzerland and Singapore's populations would more than double or nearly triple respectively.

No human is illegal? Good news for construction companies and home and landowners

The millions of new residents must first be sheltered. In other words, houses. Lots of houses. Lots of houses. As in: two Brussels, and seven times Rotterdam. The easiest way to achieve this is to build a lot of flats. This way you create many homes on a small surface. A neighborhood with flats such as the L-flat in Zeist (Europe's largest flat) has a population density of around 10,000 people per square kilometer. If you put them together a bit of Hong Kong style. For those seven million extra people in the Netherlands and two million in Belgium, this means a city, consisting of tower blocks, measuring seven by ten kilometers, resp. four by five kilometers, there. In short: a mecca for enterprising real estate investors.

BNP is growing strongly, as is the turnover of supermarkets

The strong growth of GDP is due to this extra alone house building and the extra consumption of these seven, resp. two million people. Of which we will assume that five, resp. three million of age. It is estimated that social services will reach around 100 billion, resp. Pay an extra 30 billion in social assistance benefits and other subsidies, about which later. Much of this will disappear towards the country of origin.

We can assume that they will spend almost all of their disposable income in the Netherlands and Belgium. Social assistance benefits are not very high, namely. From an accounting point of view, this amounts to an increase in GDP of around twenty percent - the shops where they spend their money also have to do their shopping again - the so-called multiplier effect of consumption. Especially the neighboring countries will be happy with this. Their stores in the border region with the Low Countries will generate much more turnover, while they will not have to incur the costs for social services.

Lots of young men, shortage of young women

The group that wants to migrate [1] consists mainly of young single men between twenty and thirty. That is good news for the voters on Bij1. These are mainly single women. It is less good news for the police and the judiciary. And the male natives, of course. They will have a lot more trouble getting the woman. Or for women who want to walk the streets alone at night. Young men are more likely to be criminals. Mainly single young men. What also does not help is that these men mainly come from African countries. There, women have a low status. The top ten emigration countries are predominantly African. [1] [2]

More low-educated people who do not speak Dutch

However, employers of companies are happy where many low and intermediate educated to work. Such as gardeners and cleaning companies. The supply of workers is increasing sharply. They no longer need to hire Poland. Highly educated people are less likely to choose the Low Countries. For them, countries with low taxes and high incomes are more popular. Think of Usa and Singapore. If the brain drain is taken into account, the number of highly educated people in Belgium will fall significantly, while in the Netherlands it will increase by 21 percent [1]. Belgium is an attractive migration destination for Congolese and other French-speaking Africans. After all, they already speak French. Even more bad news for Flemish separatists, they are losing their majority. And the Dutch can then come up with new Belgians jokes.

After a few years, when importing seven million immigrants, the Netherlands will probably be very similar to the Palestinian refugee camp Mar Elias in Beirut. (c) author /

Big debt, end of social system

Someone has to pay these billions. That “someone” is the tax-paying citizen. An uprising will break out if the tax goes up by a quarter. Thus began the 80 Years War. So the government will go into debt. In the first year you have to think of net 70 billion, resp. 40 billion national debt per year. About thirty percent is returned as VAT and other taxes. More in the long run. When more people find work. This means more debt for both countries. That the national debt per year by a sloppy 20 percent, resp. 15 percent per year.

We already have previous experiences with migrants. Many of them will remain unemployed. Seven out of ten Syrian and Somali migrants in the Netherlands are still unemployed [3]. The highly educated will find work faster. The government will probably reduce welfare considerably after a few years. This is the only way to keep it affordable.

"No human being is illegal" and ethnic conflict

Diversity is not always positive. Research data [4] from Bosnia shows a strong correlation between a mixed population and social unrest. To keep the Low Countries calm, a form of police state will therefore have to be introduced. This ties in seamlessly with the rather totalitarian party program of Bij1 [5]. Among other things, the party wants to transfer control of companies to the employees. Also impose all kinds of extra anti-discrimination rules. Toxic masculinity to punish. And also nationalisations. Then a one-off corona tax on all assets. This only works through a dictatorship.

The richest will leave the country. You are welcome everywhere with money. The rest cannot go away. They have a house. And a job. Also a family. So they will not give up their property without a fight. This is a recipe for anxiety. In short: let's not do this. No human being is illegal, but Lebanon is not a nice prospect.

Hezbollah supporters have a great deal of experience fighting armed conflict. Their extensive experience will come in handy in Bij1's Netherlands. Source: Author's photo, in Hezbollah Tourist Landmark of the Resistance, Mleeta, Lebanon


  1. Neli Esipova, Anita Pugliese and Julie Ray, Gallup, More Than 750 Million Worldwide Would Migrate If They Could, 2018
  2. Measuring Global Migration Potential, 2010–2015, IOM, 2017
  3. Seven out of ten Somalis on welfare, CBS, 2015
  4. Natalija Novta, Ethnic Diversity and the Spread of Civil War, Journal of the European Economic Association, Volume 14, Issue 5, October 1, 2016, Pages 1074–1100,
  5. Party program Bij1, 2021

Are Martyrs Always Right? Argumentum ad martyrem

The father of the United States Marine Humayun Khan, blown up in Iraq by a fellow believer, thinks his son has meant more to the United States than Trump. Of course, the Donald did not let that go by and a media riot broke out. Which brings us to a fascinating philosophical question.

Sense and nonsense of the martyrs

The Christian faith has grown with it: martyrs. In the early pacifist days of Christianity, this usually concerned Christians murdered by order of the emperors of the Roman Empire. As Christianity became the state religion and the Roman Catholic Church increasingly deviated from Christian pacifism, their numbers declined. Some well-known past martyrs were beatified by the Church and then canonized. Their statements were given a special meaning. They had their own saint's day and one hagiography after another saw the light.

Humayun Khan was a hero as well as a martyr. He saved the lives of hundreds of US soldiers by stepping on a suspicious vehicle himself. For this he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart award. Source: Wikimedia Commons / Sgt. Cody W. Torkelson

The second great faith, Islam, also has martyrs. The Quran guarantees every Muslim who dies (shahid) for the sake of Islam, a certain stay in paradise. All his, or occasionally, her sins are forgiven this person by Allah. Although suicide is forbidden in both the Quran and the narratives (hadith), it is allowed to die murderously. Martyrs are also highly honored within Islam. For example, there is extensive worship of martyrs in the Palestinian territories. Survivors of suicide attacks receive a special benefit.

There is also an extensive cult around fallen soldiers in the United States.

Are Martyrs Right?

From a rational point of view, a martyr is one who has failed to achieve his goal alive. This may be because the only way to reach the goal is to sacrifice yourself. In that rare case, the martyr was a brave man. In many cases, it is a rather silly person best to deceive you posthumously Darwin award can reach out. The Muslims who blow themselves up with a bomb belt can be seen as such. These are gullible, often mentally less gifted that are easily fooled by smooth nice craters. A lot of sexually abused Muslim women become martyrs to save their family's honor.

According to publicly available information, a suspected taxi was approaching Humayun Khan when he served as a security guard in Iraq. He dismissed his subordinates and hailed the taxi himself. Then the driver, a suicide bomber, detonated the taxi. Based on this information, we can provisionally conclude that Khan was indeed a hero. He risked his life to neutralize the danger, instead of sending one of his subordinates. He respected the lives of others more than his own. That makes him a hero in the classic sense of the word.

Who has meant more to the United States: Humayun Khan or Donald Trump?

Khan saved the lives of probably several hundred people through his courageous actions. Trump has had varying degrees of success in his various business activities. This wealth, by the way, mainly because Trump had a rich father. You need money to make money in the real estate world. Without Trump, there would probably have been some other tall buildings than now, some fashion models would have had another rich guy, and Trump University attendees would have let themselves be fooled by another scammer.

Had Trump been an entrepreneur in medical engineering, for example, or a philanthropist, he would in principle have made a much greater positive contribution to the US than Khan could ever have done as a soldier. Let alone, if his dream of becoming a military lawyer had come true. Nevertheless, we have to conclude here that Khan's contribution was positive on balance, and therefore incomparably greater than that of Donald Trump until his presidency.

Whether his contribution to Usa was positive or negative after Trump's presidency ended, we can only determine later. Ratings for presidents sometimes change over time. He has shaken things up quite a bit and thus accelerated the course of history.

Ozone layer threatened by mysterious Chinese gases

The hole in the ozone layer is an environmental problem that was solved in the late 1980s by banning all CFCs in the Montreal Protocol. But now three new mysterious CFC compounds, which also deplete the ozone layer, threaten to destroy this again.

These substances delay the recovery of the ozone layer by 20 years. Measurements show that they come from China.

Usefulness of the ozone layer

Almost all oxygen in the atmosphere is di-oxygen, O2. Only a tiny fraction of all oxygen is ozone, O3. Ozone blocks UV-A and UV-B radiation and thus protects life on earth against this energy-rich radiation. There is not very much ozone. Think of a layer of 3 mm thick, with the air pressure at sea level. But if this thin layer disappears, it means, for example, more skin cancer. And damage to plants and animals.

The ozone layer is recovering reasonably well. Unfortunately, new emissions from China are throwing a spanner in the works. Source: EU / EEA

Mysterious origin

Martin Vollmer of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dübendorf and his colleagues analyzed air samples. These come from a network of sensors around the world to track trends in atmospheric gases.

The team found a CFC compound called HCFC-132b that had never been found in the atmosphere. According to analysis of ancient samples, HCFC-132b first appeared about 20 years ago. Since then, levels of the compound, which appears to come from factories in East Asia, have risen. But the researchers also saw two other compounds, HCFC-133a and HCFC-31. Its levels, too, fluctuated over time, more than those of HCFC-132b. [1]


HCFC-132b is a replacement for the infamous ozone-depleting gas CFC-113 and should be banned by 2020 [2].
HCFC-133a is an intermediate for the preparation of the agent halotran. HCFC-31, the third gas, is also an intermediate product that is now being replaced by ozone-saving alternatives. Although these three gases are less aggressive than previous ozone depleting gases.

So, the owner of a chemical plant in China may be messing with outdated chemical processes here to keep costs down. Nor did he take into account that thanks to modern, much improved detection methods, even parts per quadrillion can now be detected in air. Bad news, because thanks to this bungler it will take 20 years longer for the hole in the ozone layer to heal permanently.


  1. Martin K. Vollmer et al., Unexpected nascent atmospheric emissions of three ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci., 2021, 118 (5) e2010914118;
  2. Nonadiabatic Dynamics of HCFC-132b,, 2016

Stateless and statelessness, dream or nightmare?

Statelessness is the ideal for the “sovereign man”. But what is that like, living as a stateless person? And do you have a life?

What is statelessness and statelessness?

Nearly every shred of land outside of Antarctica, and much of the sea, has been swallowed up by states. Almost all people are nationals of one or more states. But what if you are not a national of any state? Then you are officially called “stateless”. Statelessness is the modern equivalent of outlaws. Determining how many stateless people there are is difficult. After all, they are nowhere registered as subjects. It is estimated Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion are there such in the world 15 million stateless people and possibly more.


States grant rights within their jurisdiction. That is the term for the area in which the laws of the state are valid. Most of the rights that states grant they grant to their nationals. Or to the nationals of other states. That means stateless people have few rights on most of the earth. Indeed, invoking the law means that the state is likely to expel or imprison the stateless person.

How do you become stateless?

According to the UN Declaration UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 15), every human being has the right to a nationality, in other words, can claim subjection to a state. In practice, most states have fairly strict rules for applying for their nationality. People who through no fault of their own find themselves between the loopholes of these rules sometimes lose their nationality. They thus become stateless. A child of two parents of Canadian nationality only, each not born in Canada, is stateless if that child is not born in Canada or another country where the place of birth counts. More examples on Wikipedia.

These Antarctic penguins are stateless. Statelessness is the dream of many a voluntarist. corp2417, NOAA Corps Collection Photographer: Giuseppe Zibordi Credit: Michael Van Woert, NOAA NESDIS, ORA Public Domain

Become stateless voluntarily

There are also people who voluntarily renounce their nationality. For example, if you are a national of Usa, and you don't like Usa at all, you can walk to the local Usanese embassy and renounce your Usan nationality. The writer Glen Lee Roberts, who lives in Paraguay in early 2021, did this and wrote a book about it.

Renunciation of the Dutch nationality is only possible if you already have another nationality, of a country that recognizes the Netherlands. Renunciation of Belgian nationality is comparably difficult without extra nationality. In these cases, the only way to become formally stateless is to first acquire the citizenship of a country that can be renounced without having additional nationality, and then renounce it as well.

Benefits of statelessness

There are also some, albeit limited, benefits to statelessness. This way you can commit crimes with impunity in Antarctica. Namely, the Antarctic Treaty states that the perpetrator of a crime is convicted by his own country. The logical conclusion is that for stateless crimes in Antarctica cannot be prosecuted. So if you want to open a drug lab, host animal pornography or make the entire US Library of Congress collection of e-books downloadable by satellite and you are Rohingya or some other stateless person, Antarctica is a logical choice. If you try that as a Belgian or as a Dutch person, you will be taken away by a bunch of sturdy custodians at Zaventem airport if you miss the stroopwafels or fries from home.

Another advantage: as a stateless person you have no obligations. You are literally an outlaw. No income tax or conscription. Nothing. At least, as long as you don't reside in a state. So do you want to host deep fake porn from powerful people, you totally hate paying all taxes and / or do you want performing really false genetic experiments, then statelessness is a dream come true. This does require a network in the rest of the world. Hardly anyone lives on Antarctica and the high seas, and there are no postal addresses.