As the Anglo-American intervention in Mesopotamia took place, Peter Simple found he could not avoid the subject. In the first column we present to you today, Peter Simple tells us of another, more dangerous invasion. The second column was written after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside the Franco-German opposition to the Second Iraq War, chiding Paris and Berlin as ‘Old Europe’. Of course, the secularist modern republican governments which today rule from Paris and Berlin are about as far from Old Europe as possible, but read on. Peter Simple says it all.
January 17, 2003
We are sometimes asked about our columnar policy in the matter of the proposed American war on Iraq. There is an ongoing discussion about this in the Supreme Columnar Council where the great abbots and nobles meet. They ask: what likely outcome could benefit or damage our columnar interests? Some say one thing, some another; there are as many opinions as men.
Of more immediate concern are rumours of incursions by agents of the American mass-culture, as it is called, into columnar territory. Last week there were reports that infiltrators, most likely seaborne invaders from the vast wastelands of television across the Interpaginal Channel, had appeared in a remote mountain region.
They had installed illegal electro-galvanic machines, distributed cheap “television sets” to a few gullible peasants and begun “broadcasting” seditious and obscene material.
This attempt to defy the fundamental columnar laws against technology did not last long. Sturdy, loyal peasants, wielding the infrangible iron bar of Luddite-Sibthorpian theory, soon smashed the evil machines and chased the interlopers over the border, chanting the old song: “Lift up the stones and expose the technological bandits to the eye of Heaven.”
In another attempt, infiltrators carrying large sums in columnar currency and Maria Theresa dollars, erected an infernal eating house and tried to sell their disgusting fare to the peasants. They even displayed an illicit electro-galvanic sign, “Simpleburgers”, to seduce the peasants from the homely, healthy fare they produce from their own immemorial labours in the fields.
When the victims fell ill from eating this unaccustomed rubbish, a traditional panic set in. Soon the more ignorant took to the roads, wheeling handcarts crammed with pathetic household goods: pots and pans, rocking chairs, bedsteads and icons, with here and there an ancestral grandfather clock, barometer or stringless harp handed down from forgotten bards of old.
A headlong rush towards the Dreaded Eastern Void was averted just in time by greybeard village elders and a few militiamen on leave who knew how to reinforce advice with rougher methods of persuasion. But now worrying supernatural phenomena were seen. A moderate-sized green dragon reading a newspaper was stretched out lazily by the roadside. A plague of frogs invaded a wayside shrine. From abandoned wells voices gave warning in unknown languages, immediately identified by village schoolmasters as “Hittite” or “Old Sorb” – there were few to argue.
Only by continual vigilance can we prevent such incursions, which, as the outer world grows ever more demented and corrupt, can only grow more frequent. What, it may be asked, are the implications for world and other world affairs? Our primary concern, as always, is to defend our borders and uphold our columnar interests. We cannot point out too often that in the event of a serious threat to the paginal balance of power, this column could not and would not stand idly by.
“Old Europe”: with this contemptuous phrase, Rumsfeld and his fellow eminences at the White House dismissed French and German opposition to military action against Iraq. Supremely arrogant, confident of a future world order even more repellent than the present, how should they know or care that for some of us Old Europeans the phrase can induce a mood of hopeless longing?
A hundred years ago, Old Europe ruled the world. From its colonies in every continent came tribute which daily enhanced its wealth, convenience and comfort. The old kingdoms and empires were still intact. The Kaiser ruled in Berlin, the Tsar in St Petersburg, the Emperor Franz-Joseph in Vienna, each with his splendid court whose customs and ceremonies seemed made to last for ever.
The civilisation of Europe – the greatest civilisation the world has known – still seemed secure. Its ancient cities, so varied in their beauty and splendour, still held glorious treasuries of art. Its noble landscapes were still unsullied. Its various peoples kept their own historical traditions.
But the death wish fell on Old Europe, and it collapsed in fratricidal war. The Americans arrived to hasten its ruin with their pernicious doctrines of self-determination, equality and perfectability. Mortally wounded, Old Europe staggered on, but could not recover.
Now there is talk of a New Europe. It is a matter not of emperors and kings but of technicians, accountants and businessmen. It may or may not prosper. What do we care, when Old Europe has gone for ever?