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Is Brussels Broken?
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I have excellent memories of Brussels, Belgium, and in particular of the Grande Place, a gem of European architecture, dating back to the 13th century, but in its surviving form mostly the creation of 17th Guilds flaunting their wealth in finely decorated grand trading houses. To stand in it is to savour the refinements of the late medieval age. In some parts of the square, and in side streets, there were lacework showrooms, chocolate shops (crystallized orange peel in the darkest bitter chocolate), steak houses and bars serving innumerable types of locally brewed beer. St Mark’s Square in Venice could hold comparison, but few others.

In separate visits in the mid-80s I went to conferences, sought research grants from European Union medical funds and also visited NATO headquarters. I visited again in the mid-90s, and found the same picture, or so it seemed, with possibly more traffic jams on the way to the airport.

In this 2020 I noted a puzzling finding: the worst country for Covid deaths is Belgium at 1,492 deaths per million. The next, quite some way down, is Peru at 1094; then Italy and Spain in the high 900s. What is going on? I wondered if they were being over-generous with the use of the diagnostic label, but what was it that made them worse than a very poor country like Peru? Worse even than the United Kingdom, which has not had a brilliant epidemic, but has a death rate of 900? Well, the Belgians explain that, unlike other countries, they count deaths in hospitals and care homes, and in the latter include as cases those suspected but not confirmed to have died of Covid. Another contributing factor is that 71 per 1000 over 65s are in care homes in Belgium, and they were not well prepared for the pandemic.

Another possible explanation is that Brussels is a cosmopolitan city, with 2 out of 3 residents being an immigrant. People travel a lot to and from different countries so it is “a small beehive in the heart of Europe”. This may contribute to the spread of the virus. The country is also deeply divided and so fractured as to be barely capable of implementing any national policy. There is a big split between French and Dutch speakers, and language is only part of the problem. Diversity of attitudes has not been much of an advantage. For some periods there have been no governments. It might seem odd, but Belguim could be considered a failed state. Usually, poor countries are more susceptible to pandemics, but that explanation seems far fetched if applied to Brussels, the government centre of Europe. Surely Brussels is a wealthy city?

Emil Kirkegaard and Baptiste Dumoulin ask: What Happened to Brussels? The Big Decline and Muslim Immigration

They studied regional inequality in Belgium, both in the 19 communes of Brussels and in the country as a whole (n = 589 communes). They found very strong relationships between the percentages of Muslims in the population and a variety of social outcomes such as crime, educational attainment, and median income.

Page 293 following:

For the 19 communes of Brussels, we find a correlation of -.94 between Muslim % and a general factor of socioeconomic variables (S factor) based on 22 diverse indicators. The slope for this relationship is -7.52, meaning that a change in S going from 0% to 100% Muslim corresponds to a worsening of overall social well-being by 7.52 (commune-level) standard deviations. For the entire country, we have data for 8 measures of social inequality. Analysis of the indicators shows an S factor which is very similar to the one from the Brussels data only based on the full set of indicators (r’s = .98). In the full dataset, the correlation between S and Muslim% is -.52, with a slope of -8.05. Adding covariates for age, population density, and spatial autocorrelation changes this slope to -8.77. Thus, the expected change going from a 0% to 100% Muslim population is -8.77 standard deviations in general social well-being.

In the Belgian context, the capital of Brussels (Bruxelles) saw the relative wealth of its inhabitants reduced dramatically in about 50 years. In this same period, the population composition of the city changed drastically from mostly natives, or at least persons of European ancestry, to now being approximately 25% Muslim of mostly non-European ancestry. The wealth index (the ratio of average earnings in a given unit in Belgium compared to the Belgian mean) in the Belgian capital declined from about 150 in the early 1970s to 79 in 2015, meaning that the relative prosperity of the Brussels region is today half of what it was 50 years before.

This is a calamitous fall for a capital city.

Kirkegaard and Dumoulin discuss their data sources, most of which are official government figures. Percentage Muslim is harder to calculate, because many countries base their statistics on citizenship, which deliberately obscures origins. They used a particular sociologist’s database which traced people and corrected for this factor, and found that he estimated that Belgium in 2011 was 6.3% Muslim while Pew Research estimated the country value at 6.0% for2010 (Pew Research Center, 2011), so the estimates were closely in line. The database estimated that Brussels was 22.4% Muslim. Naturally, the religious categorization mostly overlaps with particular countries of origin, and with the genetic and cultural aspects of those countries, plus common attitudinal factors associated with religious allegiance. So, “Muslim” is shorthand.

Here are the components of the S factor, showing what it is positively and negatively associated with:

The socio-economic “S factor” has some interesting characteristics. High wages, income, wealth, professional backgrounds, university degrees, high life expectancies and expensive houses are all predictable, but being a blood donor less so. The latter is an act of altruism, the former ones may seem more selfish. Far from being blood suckers, they are blood donors. This gift keeps given even though others do not reciprocate. Such Burghers are not likely to have low birthweights or infantile mortality, or need of benefits, or backward children, or juvenile delinquency, but nor do the make fraudulent declarations. On balance, they are upstanding citizens.

The higher the percentage of Muslims in a city district, the lower the wealth and well-being of that district.

Interestingly, fraudulent insurance declarations are higher in Muslim populations, as are failures to repay debts. These are certainly measures of honesty and social conscience, or the lack of it, as in the lack of blood donation. This is not something which could be explained by police picking up people in the street on the basis of their appearance. Rather, they are private matters, revealed only after the event. In fact, other studies confirm these findings of dishonesty.

The same pattern of higher percentage Muslim being associated with lower social factor scores hold true for all of Belgium as a whole, when all 589 communes are analysed in a similar fashion, using national level data.

For S factor, the simple model suggests a -8.05 SD decrease in general well-being by increasing the Muslim% from zero to 100%.

This is a massive effect. Since Muslim immigrants usually settle in cities, (rather than farming the land) the contrast between their poor performance and the much higher achievements of urban Europeans is starkly revealed side by side, often leading to resentment born of incomprehension.
In their discussion, the authors observe:

Among the indicators used for Brussels, we have the rate of fraudulent insurance declarations, which shows a correlation to Muslim% of .68. This finding is in line with results by Carl (2017) who found that in the United Kingdom, the population proportion of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (both Muslim populations) was a strong predictor of electoral fraud. He interpreted this in line with a history of cousin marriages promoting ethnocentric behavior resulting in relatively stronger distrust and hostility towards outsiders, including scamming behaviors (Schulz et al., 2019; Woodley & Bell,

Lynn (2020) reviewed findings on race differences in blood donation, as a measure of altruism. He finds that overall European-descent (‘whites’) have more blood donors per capita than the 5 other racial/ancestry groups considered, including East Asians. He did not find a study that included Middle Easterners or Muslims in particular, but one German study compared immigrants to natives and found that the native blood donor rate was slightly less than twice that of immigrants, perhaps a majority of which are Muslims (Boenigk et al., 2015). Thus, the rank order does not follow the usual IQ order entirely, as the results suggest that East Asians are less altruistic than Europeans despite superior average intelligence.

Some supporters of mass immigration regard these results as temporary phenomena, which will be wiped out in second generations by applying education and welfare generally, or education and welfare in higher doses for immigrants. The scholastic results show some improvements, but not as big as hoped, and not remotely reaching the European standards of Belgium.

Pure problem solving, the least likely to be affected by extra tuition, has not budged at all. On the scholastic measures the overall gain for the second generation is 0.25 of a “native” standard deviation of 90 points. Another way of putting it is that the scholastic gap between Belgians and 1st generation immigrants was 111 PISA points and for the 2nd generation it is 88 points. They were 1.23 standard deviation behind they Belgians, and their children are still 0.98 standard deviations behind. In other countries, gaps of that magnitude cause considerable problems.

The picture is the same in 2015, here shown for first and second generations for French, Dutch and German areas.

It is highly plausible that differences in intelligence cause differences in later social outcomes. The longer lifespans of children tested at age 11 would be an example in which reverse causation is unlikely. One internal validation measure is to look at “the correlation of correlations”, that is to say, do each of the correlations of the socio-economic factor components correlate with the Muslim percentag?. In this case each of them does, which makes it likely that being Muslim is a causal factor. Jensen originally put forward this argument when he showed that the intelligence subtests which showed most black-white difference were also those with the highest heritability. That made it a plausible hypothesis that at least part of the black-white difference in intelligence was due to genetic differences.

The authors admit that they do not have accurate commune data for first and second generation immigrants. They politely do not mention, as Rindermann does, that it remains curious that large scale unselective immigration is carried out by countries who then make it very difficult to monitor the long-term results. The authors point out it could probably be done by studying first names, since the Muslim ones are easily identifiable. They also point out that their data on Muslim percentages comes from a Marxist sociologist, a person unlikely to be altering classificatory data to cast immigrants in a bad light.

The authors conclude:

The big decline of Brussels is mainly due to large-scale low-intelligence immigration to the capital region. The immigrants have generally not been selected for their ability to contribute to Belgian society, and originated from second- and third-world countries. Furthermore, they are mainly Muslims, and across the world, adherents of this faith generally perform relatively poorly compared to other groups, both in Muslim majority and non-Muslim majority countries (Kuran, 1997).

• Category: Science • Tags: Belgium, Coronavirus, EU 
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  1. dearieme says:

    Over the years I have pared down my foreign policy until now it consists simply of “Nuke Bruxelles!”. The policy is not aimed at the Mussulman population but at the Eurocrats.

    • Replies: @A123
    , @HyperDupont
  2. There is that as well.

  3. A123 says:

    The two things go together.

    As the seat of the European Union, it is a hub of Elite arrogance and advocacy for SJW Islamic Globalism. The only other contender for #1 is Mutti Mullah Merkel’s Berlin (a.k.a. Rape-ugee Central).

    One doubts that Muslim imports are wanted by Belgian natives (Walloons or Flemish). They are attracted by the sexual deviance of sharia-compliant EU Elites. After the Dancing Boys of Afghanistan, can anyone be surprised by an Elite Islamic Gay Orgy in Brussels? (1)

    PEACE 😇


    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  4. @A123

    Oh yeah, this gay orgy in Covid-ridden Brussels – quite a few right-wingers there too, as it turned out so – don’t you worry – – ‘n’ – – be ‘appy! – Lives in the – desired – – balances. If in doubt – just have a look at Derri-Dada and Lacan-Can! – This is Europe here speakin’ – 100 liberation-points go to Brussels!

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  5. Then, there is Wallonia, one of the oldest industrial area in the world, perhaps the oldest outside the UK. There was and continues to be a correlation between Covid-19 outbreaks and steel making areas such as Wuhan, Qom or Middlesborough. Toledo and Northern Italy too. Old people, poor people, people with previous exposure to TB, air pollution, housing density, room size, high level of community interaction (the old still singing in chapel or church), emigration of the cleverer young people. Such correlations occur in these areas. Islam or people from Islamic countries is not the only option to consider.

  6. says:

    Covid in Belgium is an interesting case. Because of the inaction a very large pool of SARS2 is created and that facilitated the formation and rapid replication of new mutants like the subclade 20A/15324T since the middle of March which I nicknamed BelgiumFlu as it is very dominant in Belgium. However, it seems that not that many has spread to other countries which might suggest that it is mainly in certain population subgroup.

    On the other hand CongoDR is dominated by the subclade 20A/15324T BelgiumFlu since the middle of March. It seems that many Congolese are travelling between the old colonial master country Belgium and CongoDR.

    There were noticeable clusters of clade 19B WuFlu in Belgium in the middle of May and June. That is very strange as there are no fully sequence clade 19B data reported from Italy despite the much talk about the number of Chinese workers in Italy.

    On the other hand it is hard to explain why there was about 20.35% of clade 19B WuFlu in Spain except that it might have been carried there indirectly by Filipino (very few strain data reported) Philippines is a former colony of Spain.

    Given that till recently there is still a very rare SARS2 strain with no known ancestry reported from the official sources of NZ and Australia from Filipino mariners,

    World-first mutated strain of COVID-19 detected on Sofrana Surville ship off Queensland coast

    Crew members on a cargo ship forced to anchor off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast were infected with a mutated strain of coronavirus undetected elsewhere in the world, health officials say.

    Testing by New Zealand scientists found it was “12 mutations away from the closest international genome”.

    For the world the average mutations is 7.23,
    Geographic and Genomic Distribution of SARS-CoV-2 Mutations

    Results: The number of mutations is relatively low, with mode per sample equaling 6, an average of 7.23, and very few samples having more than 15 events.

    The rare Filipino strain is an additional 12 mutations away from one of the outliers (on average 7.23 mutations from the centroid) of the world sample. Given that large quantities of palm sap/wine are consumed which might be contaminated with the urine and faeces of bats and civets (potential sources of SARS2 virus), Philippines could be closed to or even the original source of SARS2. As a comparison the new MinkFlu strain is an immediate descended from clade 20B.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  7. Anonymous[147] • Disclaimer says:

    Good Lord!!

    All that effort to state the bleeding obvious.

    • Agree: LondonBob

    Given that large quantities of palm sap/wine are consumed which might be contaminated with the urine and faeces of bats and civets (potential sources of SARS2 virus), Philippines could be closed to or even the original source of SARS2. As a comparison the new MinkFlu strain is an immediate descended from clade 20B.

    There is an assumed case of bat-faeces origin in China too. So – there might be quite a few CO-19 sources.

    • Replies:
  9. Is Brussels Broken?

    At one time I would have answered “Is the Pope Catholic?”, but that is now in doubt. Brussels is not broken, it is f*%ked, just like London, Paris, and other cities. I was in Copenhagen visiting a friend in 1974, the year after Denmark joined the EEC. The place was swarming (relative to the time) with “brown” people. My friend explained they had come from France as the welfare benefits were much better in Denmark. The previously spotlessly clean city was turning into a garbage dump. I was in Brussels that year as well. It was a truly beautiful city. It has been more than a dozen years since the last time I was in Belgium, and was sickened by what it had become.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. @Dieter Kief

    If you would have asked me where this might have occurred – I would have pointed at Belgium – now this is all contra factual, since – it has happened: CO-19 indoor sex regulations:

  11. says:
    @Dieter Kief

    There is a large difference between bats largely avoiding people and sh*tting in caves and multi-million people in SEAsia, Oceania and Indian subcontinent who might be directly drinking palm sap/wine (as common as beers in western countries) collected in open jars on tree tops which might be contaminated with civet and bat urine and faeces when then they daily feed, taking baths and doing some other business in the open jars. Northern East Asians largely do not drink palm sap/wine, they prefer rice wine which is produced in-house and from the small producers they might have problem with rats.

    I forgot to mentioned that so far Spain had reported the earliest sign of SARSCov2 in wastewater March 2019 before the detection of SARS2 in China Dec 2019,

    More surprisingly, researchers at the University of Barcelona found traces of the virus when testing untreated wastewater samples dated March 12, 2019.

    The unique high clade 19B WuFlu present in Spain alone and not in other European countries is a anomaly. Could it be that WuFlu might actually be PinoFlu?? What ever SARS2 clades China has are reflected in the testing of their visitors in other country and there were no surprises. It is Philippine that still throwing out very rare SARS2 clade with no known close ancestors and not yet have descedents hinting that the source must be closed by. Thailand also had reported presence of rare SARS2 clade but the report was not as reliable as that from NZ and Australia. Countries that previous with known problems with bat based diseases like Nipah virus diseases in India, Malaysia and Singapore, and Hendra virus disease in Australia, and all are near to Philippine.

    • Thanks: Dieter Kief
    • Replies:
  12. says:


    Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in an Oropharyngeal Swab Specimen, Milan, Italy, Early December 2019

    RNA strands stored at −80°C were tested by an in-house heminested reverse transcription PCR assay

    Confirmed by direct swab PCR test, not antibody or from wastewater, and before the detection of SARS2 in China in late Dec 2019.


    Direct flights from Wuhan to Rome, 11 hours, 15 mins.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief

    thanks so much. have tweeted it out. Didn’t know whether you had a twitter tag to acknowledge you.

    • Replies:
  15. @James Thompson

    Most likely even more important – direct flights from Wuhan to Milan/Northern Itlay.

    The Handelsblatt/Düsseldorf reported, that there are 2500 (!) Chinese businesses/factories in Northern Italy.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  16. @Dieter Kief

    Yes, in a community where people never die. (They pass on passports to new Chinese workers, secure in the knowledge that Italian officials won’t notice).

  17. @dearieme

    « Nuke Bruxelles!”. The policy is not aimed at the Mussulman population but at the Eurocrat »

    Let’s not forget NATO! Three birds with one stone.

    • Replies: @dearieme
  18. dearieme says:

    Strong point. What on earth is NATO for now?

    • Replies: @ruralguy
  19. ruralguy says:

    You really don’t need statistics to paint the picture — just visit Europe. I did, a few years ago, returning after 30 years. I thought the trip would be like my trip in 1985. The changes shocked me. My family and I couldn’t ride the subways in Paris, because the trains stunk from urine and feces. My children had to cover their mouths and noses, it was so bad. The whole city is overrun with Africans. It’s not Paris anymore. Invaders have overrun most cities in France. Marseilles is a slum. The only exceptions are in small towns and rural areas.. In Germany, the governments put up Syrian invaders in high-end hotels. Their kids played rambunctiously in the lobbies. Everywhere you go, you see these invaders.

    A thousand years of European culture are being erased, year by year. My uncle died in combat in WW2, defending Europe. Now, these Europeans let themselves be invaded, with no shots fired in self defense. Pathetic.

  20. says:
    @James Thompson

    I have minimal internet footprint. Not using twitter or email.

  21. Anonymous[854] • Disclaimer says:

    After Pope Francis, the question “is the Pope Catholic?” is no longer metaphorical.

  22. Thanks for this. I had no idea how calamitous the decline of Brussels ( A beautiful city to my 35 year long recollections) had been. I have long regarded it as the heart of darkness, living richly on the proceeds of the West’s criminal gangs. I was delighted to see it’s imported its own cancer.


    Any idea how many cycles in the PCR test?

    • Replies:
  24. says:
    @Bill Jones

    No idea. That is not stated in the paper. The site seems to have disappeared. Anyway if people have missed that what the paper stated is,

    All laboratory procedures were conducted in a university research laboratory, accredited according to World Health Organization standards, dedicated exclusively to the surveillance of measles and rubella, and therefore designated as free from SARS-CoV-2. RNA strands stored at −80°C were tested by an in-house heminested reverse transcription PCR assay for the amplification of a 470-bp fragment of the gene encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Primers used during the first amplification step were Out_f 5′-AGGCTGCGTTATAGCTTGGA-3′ and MaSi_Ar 5′-ACACTGACACCACCAAAAGAAC-3′. Primers used for the second step were SiMa_Bf 5′-TCTTGATTCTAAGGTTGGTGGT-3′ and MaSi Ar 5′-ACACTGACACCACCAAAAGAAC-3′. Positive and negative controls also were included in each PCR test and performed as expected.

    One oropharyngeal swab specimen tested positive. The amplicon was sequenced by using Sanger technology, resulting in a sequence of 409 bp. Sequence analysis performed by using BLAST ( Link) showed 100% identity to the reference sequence Wuhan-HU-1 (GenBank accession no. NC_045512.2) as well as to sequences of other SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating worldwide at a later stage; therefore, accurately determining the origin of the identified strain was not possible. The specimen was confirmed as positive by repeated amplification and sequencing, and all other specimens were repeatedly negative. The sequence (SARS-CoV-2_Milan_Dec2019 [GenBank accession no. MW303957]) was identified in a specimen collected from a 4-year-old boy who lived in the surrounding area of Milan and had no reported travel history. On November 21, the child had cough and rhinitis; about a week later (November 30), he was taken to the emergency department with respiratory symptoms and vomiting. On December 1, he had onset of a measles-like rash; on December 5 (14 days after symptom onset), the oropharyngeal swab specimen was obtained for clinical diagnosis of suspected measles. This patient’s clinical course, which included late skin manifestations, resembles what has been reported by other authors; maculopapular lesions have been among the most prevalent cutaneous manifestations observed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and several studies have noticed a later onset in younger patients (7).

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