A Thermidorian Reaction to a Fanatical French Wine Law?

robespierreReacquainting myself of late with the history of the French Revolution, I’m reminded of that kind of gruesome immorality that can foisted upon a people when fanatics are given free rein. Maximilien Robespierre, the ultimate fanatic with a goal of creating a “virtuous society,  was an object lesson in what fanaticism leads to. The number of heads that fell during his Reign of Terror trying to create this virtuous society turned streets red.

Always being opposed to fanatics of nearly any type and time, I’m always a bit pleased and relieved to read again about the Thermidorian Reaction when the fanatical Robespierre, jaw hanging off due to a failed suicide attempt, gets his own head relieved from his body.

I could not help but be reminded of the Thermidorian Reaction when I read today of an attempt in France to amend the fanatical anti-alcohol “Evin Law”. The law, passed in 1991, practically banned all alcohol advertising in France and severely limited what wine and other alcohol producers could do to promote their products. Judges have strictly enforced the law to the point of absurdity (at one point, a French newspaper was fined 5,000 Euros for the crime of writing an article entitled “The Triumph of Champagne”).

Now a French lawmaker has authored an amendment that would in effect clarify that writing about wine, how it is made, the soils it is grown in and the places it is grown written in an editorial environment would not amount to “advertising”. 

The author of the Evin law, Claud Evin, believes that if the amendment passes it will give winemakers  “almost limitless…freedom to advertise their products.”

Good lord, can you imagine!!



2 Responses

  1. Steve - June 10, 2015

    In America we spent about 14 years trying to create a virtuous society that was absent any alcohol in beverages. Instead we created a new class such as that of Big Al, even Joeseph Kennedy. Of course, liquor taxes have been with us since the late 1700’s and that started rebellions and a new industry of moonshining.

    Based upon history, I would assume the French will respond in some muted form to the vile ills the new French law will breed.

  2. Tom - June 14, 2015

    One of the French wine producers I import from told me that the words I’ve put on the back of the t-shirts I sell, “Drink More Wine,” wouldn’t be allowed in France precisely because of this law.

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