Mona Keijzer, our future prime minister, wants real solutions for real people. These real people fascinate me. Who are the unreal people? At best, Mona is referring to the average person who only appears in statistics. These are the ones who profit from unreal solutions, while all the other, real, people lose out. Real people are those who pay for other people’s solar panels.
I fear that I, too, belong to the unreal people. I live in Amsterdam, work at the UvA and I vote for the wrong party: Real people vote right.
For example, I am also not a real Achterhoeker, even though I was raised there. My parents came from the west of the Netherlands, I can not speak Achterhoeks and I do not like beer. I'm also not a real Amsterdamer because I did not move here until I was 18. After how many generations are you actually real? Are my children real Amsterdamers?
I also keep getting confused about the concept of native population. I do not want to condone the crimes of our colonial ancestors (though likely real people according to Mona, I suspect), but when is a population native? The image of a native population living in peace and harmony with nature since the time of Adam and Eve is, I fear, a leftist chimera. It falls underthe category of ‘everything used to be better’, a category that the right has otherwise patented. Virtually every dominant population group, anywhere in the world, reached this status because they have displaced other groups, usually with violence. Only if that has gone on long enough and/or has been dealt with so mercilessly that the ‘real’ original population has been destroyed, do they receive the ‘native population’ status.
A related conceptual issue is that of exotic or alien species. Amsterdam suffers from the nuisance of parakeets, Japanese knotweed and the American crayfish. I read that the difference between native and non-native species can be clearly stated: a species is native if it occurs here naturally. But then again, that is an Adam and Eve definition.
I also read that we should be particularly concerned about invasive non-native species. That is enlightening. But invasive is wrong as settlers are invasive non-natives. Whether invasive behavior is now reserved for non-natives is debatable. No exotic person can match the rate at which the truest Dutchman, specializing in the export of meat, destroys nature.
But invasive or not, as a parakeet you still want to know after how many generations of living in the Oosterpark you have become a true Dutch bird. We do need to offer some perspective. And that includes the unreal people in the Netherlands, the non-binary, the asylum seekers, the Moroccan hustlers, the climate activists, not to mention the expats with their weird bicycle helmets.
How do you become a real Dutchman according to Mona? How many old episodes of Te land, ter zee en in de lucht should you watch? Should you be for Black Pete, keep pigs and vote for a new populist politician every election?
In that case, I prefer unreal. Unreal people of the Netherlands: Unite against the invasive natives. Vote left!
Han van der Maas is professor of psychological methods and columnist for Folia.