Monday, October 18, 2010

Current Events-Interest Groups


An interest group (also called an advocacy group, lobbying group, pressure group, or special interest) is a group, however loosely or tightly organized, that is determined to encourage or prevent changes in public policy without trying to be elected. The textbook used in class defines this as "An organization of people with shared ideas and attitudes who attempt to influence public policy."

Do you think Interest groups help or hinder the democratic process? Describe your answer with examples.

20 comments:

  1. I believe interest groups both hep and hinder the democratic process. For the former, it acts as a catalyst to the democratic process, creating policies and criticism. For the latter, special interest groups are usually very forceful and often have ideas that would not benefit the country as a whole. They usually have an extreme bias. A great example is green peace. They almost completely have one focus, the environment. It is a great focus, but policies directed only for the environment will not run the country.

    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interest groups are very helpful in a democracy. Since a democracy is a government for the people it only makes sense that there would be advocate groups to let the government know what issues need to be dealt with. For example if a park preservation is being endangered by a paper company then a naturalist group can go to the government and tell them whats going on. The government is all powerful and all knowing there just people like everyone else, and like everyone else they overlook certain things every now and then. With the help of advocate groups the chance of the government overlooking something is far less.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I believe that interest groups are very helpful in a democracy. Though they have both good ad bad groups, interest groups are made by the people and therefore mostly express the wills of the people inside of the democracy. Most groups are just looking out for the good of the people, like the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
    "The principal purpose of ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation's drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences."
    This demonstrtes the good of interest groups in showing all the good that these groups can do for the democracy.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interest groups are very helpful in a democracy. Some interest groups are not always good because they are formed by the people themselves which means they will express their opinions about the issue they are burning on. They help in many ways, such as helping pass certain laws or policies that are good for their society. For example the NARAL Pro-Choice America (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), their goal is to stop the prevention of people taking away women's right to get an abortion and other ways to prevent pregnancy. They believe that women have a right to an abortion and these other ways to prevent pregnancy. This is important because this has been a huge topic in congress for many years and these interest groups are trying to help what they feel is right for their people.
    http://www.naral.org/

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think interest groups are helpful to the democratic party. The interest groups are described as, "Non-profit and usually voluntary organization whose members have a common cause for which they seek to influence public policy, without seeking political control." http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/interest-group.html#ixzz12s4DWHkc
    These groups can be of positive influence for everyone because they can be the representatives of the public. In my opinion, an interest group would have more of an affect towards the government than a single person because there is already a group supporting the clause. There are also many types of groups to speak up about many other topics of debate. These groups include, "(1) Economic association, such as chambers of commerce, trade unions, religious bodies, (2) Professional association, such as that of architects, doctors, lawyers, (3) Public interest group (PIG), such as 'Friends Of environment' who aim to benefit people beyond their membership, and (4) Special interest group (SIG), a subgroups formed within the framework of a larger or main group to focus on a very narrow area of interest. Whereas pressure groups try to promote a cause (change the status quo), interest groups try to defend it (maintain the status quo)."
    http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/interest-group.html#ixzz12s4xugVh
    These groups can be very helpful if used in the right way, and it is assumed that it is grouped for the right decision because it is a nonprofit organization and it is voluntarily run by volunteers who want a say in policies.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I believe that interest groups are beneficial to the democratic process because they help develop the political and social system. Interest groups help motivate others to take part in the political process. The Drug Policy Alliance " is a New York City-based non-profit organization with the principal goal of ending the American 'War on Drugs'." The Drug Policy Alliance created Proposition 36 which gave drug offenders who were nonviolent a chance to go to a rehab center rather than be sentenced to jail.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_Policy_Alliance)
    Some groups have developed very important social movements that have influenced America in a positive way. The Stop the War Coalition group campaigns against "unjust wars." Ever since September 11, 2009 that started the Afghanistan war, "the coalition has opposed the various wars that are claimed to be part of the ongoing "War on Terrorism".
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_the_War_Coalition)
    These groups are based on a single issue or belief and help spread that belief across America. There are many interest groups that believe in a very important issue such as the Suffragettes who fight for " Voting rights for women after direct action and hunger strikes from 1865-1928 in the United Kingdom." Also, the Greenpeace interest group who are an environmental organization. Although there are groups that are corrupt, overall these organizations have positive interests.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In my opinion interest groups help, but also hinder the democratic process. Interest groups help democracy because they are formed by people with the same ideas. These people have a common interest which motivates them to get things done in the government that agree with there interests."Interest groups attempt to influence politicians so that they act in the best interests of their group." (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_purpose_do_interest_groups_serve_in_American_politics) Because of this, they also hinder democratic process because they might not always do the right thing. They may want to do something that benefits them, but not the rest. Within this though, it causes other interest groups to form that are against the other group.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think Interest Groups overall help the Democratic Process. They help because most interest groups are fighting for a good cause that lots of times the general public is not aware of so if these interest groups were not allowed many issues would go unheard of there for actions would not be taken against them. But of course there is always the bad apple in this case an interest group that is fighting for a solid cause and just ends up becoming a nuisance. An example of a well thought out interest group is the one that supported the healthcare reform. Had they not made a stand many people would still be denied medical attention until it became an emergency. Granted not everyone thinks the health care reform is a good thing but I personally think that the well being of our countries citizens is the much more important than anything else such as having smoother/cleaner streets or funding wars.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/06/AR2010010605160.html

    ReplyDelete
  9. I believe that interest groups are beneficial in democratic society. They are formed by people with similar interests, goals, and ideas. Often times, interest groups motivate others to take action in a variety of areas including government. Two common opposing interest groups are Pro-choice and Pro-Life. These groups focus on the debate of abortion. Pro-choice believes that women should have the right to choose whether they need an abortion, while pro-life is strictly against abortions. Interest groups provide different viewpoints which allow the public to decide for themselves what they believe in.
    "www.prochoice.org/"
    "www.prolife.com/"

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe that interest groups help and hinder the democratic process because they help people express their views and come together to make decisions. They help stimulate public affairs. Interest groups help represent their members on shared attitudes. Interest groups hinder the democratic process because they do not represent all the views of all of their members.

    http://www.governingdynamo.com/blog/2009/8/22/do-interest-groups-benefit-democracy.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Special interest groups help the democratic process. They represent many people with similar beliefs and influence public policy. For example, one mother against drunk driving can’t accomplish much by herself. However, thousand of mothers in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are able to help pass stricter drunk driving laws and oppose the lowering of the legal drinking age. They also encourage citizens to take part in public affairs by providing important information on public policy and raising awareness. For example, MADD has data that says that the 21 drinking age has saved 17,000 lives since 1988 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving). With this information on their side, they are able to justify their opposition of the lowering of the drinking age.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with Monique's post because I think interest groups do help the democratic process. Interest groups are very beneficial to the everyone because they provide a way for common people to voice their idea's in a group that share the same idea's. Interest groups help to stimulate interest in public affairs. Public affairs are those issues and events that concern the people at large. Another thing Monique says about how interest groups are more effective then a single person doing the same thing. One example of that is one mother concerned about drunk driving cannot accomplish very much acting alone. Thousands of people joined in an organization like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) certainly can. The most important point Monique makes is that "These groups can be very helpful if used in the right way, and it is assumed that it is grouped for the right decision because it is a nonprofit organization and it is voluntarily run by volunteers who want a say in policies.". So the interest groups can hinder democratic process when it is just thinking of the groups profit out of it. But mostly interest groups are good because we assume they are doing it for the right reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  13. An interest group in my opinion are very helpful in a democracy. Democracy is the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives.(http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=democracy)
    A democracy is made for the people therefore it is right for interest groups to exist. They help out by letting the government know what the nation wants, and what is their concern. An interest group is described as an "organization of people who share political, social or other goals; and agree to try to influence public policy to achieve those goals" (http://www.historycentral.com/civics/I.html).
    Interest groups are very helpful by taking action when no one else does. For example, if Congress takes no action then this can be a successful strategy for the interest group. If there is no action from congress then it means interest groups can take action.
    Some examples of interest groups could be Religious Interest Groups like The Christian Coalition, who are opposed to homosexual
    rights. "The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force represent groups that historically have faced legal discrimination and, in many respects, continue to lack equal opportunity." (http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Types-of-Interest-Groups.topicArticleId-65383,articleId-65531.html)

    All interest groups have a purpose, they are helpful if they are doing their job the right way, they believe that what they are doing is really helping the people.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Overall, I agree with my classmates. Interest groups are very beneficial to the democratic process- as people join together and promote their beliefs. It is important for those who have the same beliefs join, and promote them- it is part of our free speech. The only way I believe that it hinders the democratic process is by discrimination against other interest groups- but I believe as long as they are not imposing any extreme threats, then the interest groups are beneficial. Another reason that an interest group may hinder the democratic process is if they become too powerful, with money. But, overall, interest groups are very beneficial, "Interest groups have the important job of articulating the interests of the people. This is particularly important in democratic countries because the very form of the government relies on the activity and interest of the people. Participation through interest groups empowers individuals to become active in the political process." This helps the government and the public open their eyes to more ideas from others, as well as the ideas from the participants in the interest group. Interest groups help facilitate the majority interest of the people.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think interest groups have too much influence. People can confuse them with the general population, skewing their views on the public opinion. But more than that, a lot of interest groups give biased information to politicians, and with biased information comes biased decisions. Politicians are already arguably biased by nature of the two party system. But I do believe the interest groups have too much reinforcement influence.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_interest_groups_influence_public_policy

    ReplyDelete
  16. I believe that interest groups are very helpful to the Democratic overview. Interest groups are groups formed by people who are in similar interest or goals/mind set of the intention. "Interest groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems. Groups vary considerably in size, influence and motive; some have wide ranging long term social purposes, others are focused and are a response to an immediate issue or concern."
    Interest groups in their benefit search of the best interest in their mind set instead of actually asking the world to what they think that is best for their benefit. But in all i feel that interest groups look for the best decision for the world and what they can do to help the world be a better place.

    ReplyDelete
  17. In my opinion, interest groups can deter democracy, but overall is helpful in the political system. Interest groups are literally everywhere, though many may not notice them. However, of those that do, some have negative opinions about them. One argument they have is that allowing these groups "Causes suspicions of political corruption because of bargaining behind closed doors". This basically stating a long known suspicion about politics that has been with us since the origin of the idea of government. However, interest groups do more than "act as a more efficient link between the people and the politicians". With interest groups coinciding with the democratic government, they give people with similar views a chance to come together and express them, which undoubtedly creates wider participation in the public life, while at the same time allowing and encouraging people to want to be in the political process.
    Interest groups are not something everyone agrees on but none can argue that they do make an impact on the election process, in most cases for the better.

    http://www.governingdynamo.com/blog/2009/8/22/do-interest-groups-benefit-democracy.html

    ReplyDelete
  18. I believe that interests groups are beneficial to a democracy. They bring awareness to problems to lawmakers by allowing people to come together and express their views. Interests groups allow citizens to influence issues which concern them.
    This means that there can possibly be a strong chain of communication between the people and the government/politicians. Interests groups also act as an encouragement for people to engage in whats going on with politics. Most importantly, minorities are given a chance to speak on how they feel as well.

    ReplyDelete
  19. i believe that the whole internet based interest groups work as a double edged sword for the democratic process. the beneficial edge is the fact that internet enables the beliefs and interests of the people that comprise this nation to be expressed efficiently online. but the potentially dangerous edge is the whole "user edit and post" aspect in which any potentially ignorant or radical individual can post their beliefs and inturn influence more potentially ignorant and radical individuals, so the spread of misguided information and beleifs would inhibit the democratic process.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think interest groups help simplify the democratic process because it enables people with similar ideas to get together to make a decision as a whole rather than a bunch of people with their individual ideas that are specific to their own needs. They also help the democratic process because the people involved aren't looking to be elected, just to have their opinions heard.

    ReplyDelete