A Science for Everyone, Community, Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

The Petit Bourgeoisie Role in Irish Democracy

Karl Marx thought the petit bourgeoisie would have a decisive role in the revolution – and I can’t think of better, more salt of the earth, examples of petit bourgeoisie than owner-operator truckers, farmers, and ranchers.  To Karl, the petit bourgeoisie were the small merchants, the self-employed artisans . . . folks who owned at least a part of their means of production.

I’ve known quite a few owner-operator truckers, and met a whole lot more.  A CDL alone and the driver is a proletariat.  A CDL, with a down payment and a bank loan, and you’re looking at a member of the petit bourgeoisie.  The social distinction between proletariat and petit bourgeoisie isn’t hard to cross in the trucking business.  I doubt if there are a whole lot of haute bourgeoisie in the trucking industry, but the business converts the proletariat to petit bourgeoisie overnight.

And truckers are near-natural participants in Irish Democracy – uncoordinated, wide-spread civil disobedience.  The multitude of regulations over the industry create awesome opportunities for civil disobedience.  The petit bourgeoisie with a restaurant has to stay put and conform.  The trucker, with 18 wheels, is harder to locate. 

It is hard to think of an occupation more likely to bring Irish democracy into a political rally.  I have often listened to owner/operators who explained the need to keep two separate sets of books to make a living.  I recall the popularity of CB radios that announced where the bear was on the road.  I recollect radar detectors. “Irish democracy”  may be more pervasive among truckers than in Ireland.  And the Canadian government decided that they would need to quarantine for two weeks after crossing the US border.  If you look at populations (the old demographer talking here) about 70 percent of Canadians live further south than I do in Trego.  Somewhere around 85% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border.  Geography and demography have a lot of influence on where truckers drive. 

Truckers – particularly owner-operators – are an occupation that can be described in Marxist terms.  A member of the lumpenproletariat with a commercial drivers license, a bank loan and a used truck moves into the petit bourgeoisie.  Equally important, if the truck goes and there is still money owed to the bank, he is back in the lumpenproletariat.  Close to the bottom margin of the petit bourgeoisie, the owner operator is in a position where carefully picking which regulations he (or she) observes makes the day more profitable.  The two week quarantine would end that trucker’s ability to make the payments on the truck.  Heck, a couple of hours beyond the legal allotment helps the bottom line.  Trucking is an industry that practices Irish Democracy during the good times.

So I’m watching my northern neighbors – they started with a Freedom Convoy driving to Ottawa, and now trucks and tractors have closed the main 24 hour crossing between Montana and Canada, over by Sweetgrass.  By Stalin era definitions, the petit bourgeoisie are right wing – so I can understand the cartoonist who labels the trucks fascist, and how the national media calls the convoy “right wing.”  Different ideologies have differing definitions. The libertarian sees a fascist as someone who comes up with, or enforces, rules that interfere with freedom. 

 It seems a bit strange that left-wing politicians turned out unable to use Marx’ definitions, class descriptions and the dialectic to see that the truckers were the social class, the industry, that could bring the protest to the capitol.  The small businessman with the restaurant, motel or grocery store is stuck in place.  Eighteen wheels and a diesel engine is a business that makes Irish Democracy more natural than compliance.

Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

The Force of Law

It’s amazing just how many regulations/rules/statutes/ordinances/laws are out there.

What we learned in grade school civics is simple and elegant, and unfortunately far from the complete picture. In elementary school we are taught the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. This is accompanied by the simple explanation that the legislative branch (the legislature) makes the laws and the executive branch (the president) enforces them. The same model is used by the state. Simple. Easy to understand. Incomplete.

While in the strictest sense the legislature can and does pass laws and the executive branch of government does enforce them, the actual situation is far more complex. Often, what the executive branch does is create a regulatory agency to enforce the law. For example, back in the 1970’s, President Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency and charged it with enforcing the Clean Air Act. Of course, the EPA quickly grew to handle far more than just the Clean Air Act. Like other federal departments and agencies, the EPA creates rules and regulations which have the force of law. They aren’t laws in the same sense that the laws created by the legislature are, per say, but for the guy trying to follow them, there just isn’t much difference.

How many federal regulations are there?

Statistics about federal regulations can be found here, provided by George Washington University. The entire collection of regulations is available online via the electronic code of federal regulations.

Given that George Washington University’s very nice bar graph has units in “thousands of pages”, it’s rather easy to conclude that there are lots of federal regulations. Of course, it’s likely that most of them won’t apply to any given individual, but how is one to know which ones do? Alas, without reading all of them, there doesn’t seem to be a good way to know.

And, of course, this is just federal. Each state and state agency has its own collection of regulations, plus county and local governments can pass laws (and regulations with the force of law).

The County’s list of ordinances is at least, mercifully short (Silver Butte Road, Community Decay, Park Rules of Conduct, Dog Control, Litter Control, Recodifying Ordinance). That said, the county’s regulations aren’t nearly as easy to find, being spread out across various departments.