Interest groups are a critical part of our socio-political environment. They influence public policy and public opinion through their different programs, and they move people through their advocacies. However, due to their size and ideologies, they also have the power to foster skewed principles among people, and harness public aggression in stirring chaos and disparaging tradition, policies and human rights according to their whim. Let’s take a look into the pros and cons of having these interest groups in our society.
List of Pros of Interest Groups
1. Advocate Democracy
Interest groups, also called lobby groups, advocacy groups or pressure groups usually become the “voice” of the people, helping others express their opinion and bring forward their message.
2. Encourage Legislators
Interest groups campaign aggressively in support of their advocacies. They use their size and motivation in pushing legislators to pass and implement laws that uphold the interest groups’ beliefs.
3. Monitor Those in Power
Interest groups are strongly driven by their belief and support in upholding human rights and public interest. They take collective action in checking and correcting those in power.
4. Support Political Awareness
Various interest groups help disseminate valuable information to the rest of the public, especially those that involve politics and laws. They spur political involvement among the people who are otherwise helpless, meek, or ignorant on their own.
5. Better Representation
Interest groups advocate causes that are dear to their hearts, and those of the people (minorities) they represent. Divided, they are weak and vulnerable, but collectively, they are strong and well represented.
List of Cons of Interest Groups
1. Pluralism Leading to Chaos
A society with so many interest groups tends to develop pluralism, which leads to conflicting interests and chaos. As each group fight for their advocacies, they unconsciously become involved in a needless and endless tug of war.
2. Good for the Minority
Some interest groups only seek the welfare of the minority they represent and could not care less about others. Blinded by their beliefs, they may stir arguments and political debates that overshadow the greater good of the majority.
3. Plot Socio-Political Crimes
In order to push their advocacies, some interest groups pressure politicians and civilians, and may come to a point of committing serious crimes including bribery, corruption and fraud.
4. Effectiveness in Question
Some interest groups can only go as far as protecting their interests, but they become ineffective in handling the overall social-political issues as they are normally short-sighted and narrow-minded, thinking only of their own benefits.
5. Risk of Demosclerosis
As interest groups become more influential and more powerful, their collective action may render the government as ineffective in adapting or taking action. Demosclerosis or the government’s progressive inability to accomplish anything substantial is often the worst side effect of interest-group activism.
There are thousands of interest groups in America alone, and each has their own sets of beliefs and ideologies, and are plotting ways to push these advocacies, sometimes at the cost of others. While it is great to be represented and to have someone who has your back, we also need to check whether these interest groups are genuinely after the greater good.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.