Whilst I bear no real hostility towards neoconservatives per se (while not nearly as good as traditional conservatives, they are not nearly as bad as modern liberals), they do offend me from time to time with their presumptive anti-monarchism, perennial gunboating and "pernicious doctrines of self-determination, equality and perfectability", to use the wonderful jargon of the late "Peter Simple", a fellow-in-arms neo-feudalist.
Certainly traditionalists will never forget the insult of "Old Europe" delivered by that inglorious bastard, Donald Rumsfeld, who by stint of his position managed to turn the pride of that phrase on its head, whilst inferring that "New Europe" was somehow an improvement.
I am grateful to Andrew Cusack for resurrecting Michael Wharton's old column; the fictitious Peter Simple is a pleasure to re-read. Here, for example, is what Mr. Simple had to say about Mr. Rumsfeld on 31 January 2003:
Gone for Ever
“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?