Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interest Groups

While interest some groups may exist to alleviate human suffering, act as vehicles that attract public awareness, and spread the word of democracy, at times, it is worth restraining their proliferation if found to be acting in ways that contravene constitutional guidelines. Some interest groups apply undemocratic means to achieve their objectives while others uphold the constitution and struggle in ways that make the life of the ordinary citizen better and comfortable. In the United States, the First Amendment gives citizens of the nation the right to join organized groups. Federal legislation can only be used to curtail interest groups only when found to be harboring signs that may endanger the nation’s security and interests.

In democratic governments, interest groups emerge mainly when frustrated by strict government regulations. When a government fails to deliver the right resources to its citizens, its working relationship with society dissipates. The framers of the constitution basically believed in the efficacy of restraining interest groups (Macey, 1986). However, that has changed as modern governments nowadays give preference to select groups of people driven by self-interests. Coalitions or political groups have become so widespread such that they have the ability to convince lawmakers to regulate laws to their favor. When such problems occur, it is prudent to curtail such groups through federal legislation.

Generally curtailing the influence of all interest groups through federal legislation is not beneficial to U.S. democracy. Genuine interest groups that serve the general interests of society can be quite beneficial. Diamond and Morlino (2004) are of the opinion that denying interest groups their rights opens the gates to illiberalism, lawlessness, and abuse of power. A true democracy is one that entertains diffusion of the elite and popular groups. Political participation, political competition, and accountability promote fairness and also elevate the political, social, and the economic status of the ordinary citizen who is governed by democratic laws.


Macey, J.R. (1986). Promoting public-regarding legislation through statutory interpretation: An interest group model. Columbia Law Review, Vol. 82, No.

Diamond, L. & Morlino, L. The quality of democracy. (2004). Journal of Democracy Volume 15, Number 4.

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