Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, January 24, 2003

Dictators who murder their own people are fine but the French are pretty upset about the alcoholism caused by 'strong' beers and have decided to add on a new tax that would do serious financial damage to the Trappists who brew ales that sell very well in France.

France said the plan of adding two euros ($2.10) in taxes per liter of strong beer is an attempt to counter alcoholism, but Neyts sees it as protectionist since France itself does not produce beer as potent. "Why does the measure only apply to strong beer and not on wine, which has a much higher alcohol content and consumption?" she asked. "It is a piece of French logic which will need some explaining."

For Omer, it is a far cry from the daily ritual of seven prayer sessions, which start with Vigils at 4:30 a.m, punctuated only by religious study and the overseeing of the daily brewing process. Last week, he traveled to nearby Rochefort to plot a course of action with his religious brethren at another of the six abbeys in Belgium that are the only ones allowed to produce Trappist brews. "In the end, we will win the battle," he predicted, his arms tucked in his beige and brown cowl.

In the process, some microbrewers surviving on narrow profit margins could be pushed into bankruptcy. More than two dozen brewers across Belgium are directly affected by the tax plan.

Even Chimay, the biggest exporter of the strong beer, will suffer badly. The consequences of the tax would cost the company some 125,000 euros ($130,000) a month. And if distribution were disrupted, Belgian brewers would lose French market share for their beers, replaced by other drinks. "It would take two to three years to get our market share back," said Bernard Bleus, the brewer's director general.

To become a true Trappist producer, the beer needs to be brewed at the abbey and overseen by monks. A third prerequisite is that a majority of all profits go to good causes.

So, to dictators who murder and starve their own people we must give aid and open discussions. But to Trappist monks who commit the crime of producing a strong (and tasty) beer, that somehow contributes more to alcoholism than stronger (French produced) wines we must raise their taxes, possibly running them out of business. Sounds very French to me.

< email | 1/24/2003 11:40:00 AM | link

<< Designed by Ryon

Western Civilization and Democracy Net Ring

The Western Civilization and Democracy Net Ring celebrates Western civilization and its universal values of individual freedom, political democracy and equal rights for all. All sites promoting human rights and democracy are welcome.

[Prev Site] [Stats] [Random] [Next 5 Sites] [List Sites] [Next Site]