The Instigator
msintelligent28
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
samsvo
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

politic

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
samsvo
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/20/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 582 times Debate No: 55125
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

msintelligent28

Pro

this is a question for all
Are interest groups dangerous or too powerful? Give examples of how these groups contribute to or retract from our notion of democracy.
samsvo

Con

I accept, but I need to know what your stance is. I assume you are for interest groups, but I'll take this round just to accept this swell debate.
Debate Round No. 1
msintelligent28

Pro

I think that interest groups have too much power for several different reasons:

1. They function as an extraconstitutional "Fourth Branch" of government, without the scutiny that the other branches receive. Many of our laws are written, in whole or in part, by the non-elective leaders of these groups, yet they remain relatively unknown to the public (who are expected to fund and obey these laws).

2. They sometimes corrupt our elected leaders with bribes, whether legal or not, to get the legislation they want passed. This erodes the standards that Congressmen and Congresswomen are sworn to uphold, and creates a "climate of corruption" which spills over into other forms of official conduct as well.

3. As their right to "petition the government" is protected by the First Amendment, limiting their power is difficult, and so far, they have grown in strength and numbers at the expense of everyone who they don't represent.

4. The government worked better before the interest groups became so powerful. Lobbies in their present form were not envisioned by the founders, and as a result, there are insufficient checks and balances built into our current system. While every interest group has a right to be heard in Washington, none of them have a right to subvert the processes of government, and that is what is happening today
samsvo

Con

Okay, I can tell what you're going for. First I will rebuttal your four arguments, and then I will state my case.

Unfortunately, the term "interest groups" is extraordinarily vague. Although I don't want my argument to devolve into just pointing out semantics loopholes, this is a problem. Encyclopedia Brittanica defines interest groups as, "any association of individuals or organizations, usually formally organized, that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, attempts to influence public policy in its favour. All interest groups share a desire to affect government policy to benefit themselves or their causes [1]." And according to Merriam Webster, they are, "a group of people who try to influence politics or the policies of government, business, etc., in a way that helps their own interests [2]." Since no definitions were provided, I will refer to those definitions in the future.

Rebuttal

1. You provide no examples or citations of the laws you speak of. You also fail to mention that, while pressure groups recieve no direct scrutiny from the government, they also do not possess nearly the amount of power and direct influence the actual branches of government do. Richard A. Smith, in a thesis for New York University, commented on several studies that suggested interest groups to have no real influence on the house on the senate [3].

2. Again, no evidence. Also, according to the same thesis from my last rebbuttal, it cannot be proven that money from interest organizations buys a greater amount of governmental influence [4]. Furthermore, "According to 18 USCS prec § 201(b), whoever directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official with intent to influence that person’s official act will be fined for the offence of bribery [5]." So your point is moot, as it is laughable to think that regulating interest groups that are already commiting crimes will change anything.

3. This point assumes that interest groups are a bad thing, which my point will argue against.

4. Saying that "the government worked better" is an extremely subjective opinion, and one that seems not to be based on facts. You also fail to say when and how interest groups "became so powerful." With your final sentence, you suggest that many (if not the majority) of public interest groups are breaking the law. As I already mentioned, even if it was true (which it most certainly isn't) these groups are not given "too much power" by the government if they are activiely breaking the law.

My Case
With my case, I would like to claim that, not only do interest groups lack the extent of power they describe, but they are benefiticial to the American public as a whole. I say this for the following two contentions:

1. Interest groups are an actual "voice for the people." In America, an individual person has little power in the goings-on of the government. Richard A. Smith, in regards to the groups, wrote, "Much of it has been cleverly concieved and executed, and it has pushed academic inquiries into new and promising directions [6]." Supporting an interest organization is a reliable way for the common person to voice their opinion when simply voting for representitives or not.

2. Like it or not, all of the legal processes of interest groups are constitutional. I know you already partially quoted the constitution in your third contention, but I hope you'll indulge me: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances [7]." All interest groups within the law cannot be "too powerful" as mandated by the constitution.

Works Cited

[1]: http://www.britannica.com...

[2]: http://www.merriam-webster.com...;

[3]: http://www.nyu.edu...;(page 92)

[4]: http://www.nyu.edu...;(page 93)

[5]: http://bribery.uslegal.com...

[6]: http://www.nyu.edu...;(page 122)

[7]: http://www.law.cornell.edu...;
Debate Round No. 2
msintelligent28

Pro

msintelligent28 forfeited this round.
samsvo

Con

Pro forfeited and therefore provided no counters to my arguments, while I did so for his. Please vote keeping that in mind.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by msintelligent28 2 years ago
msintelligent28
think that interest groups have too much power for several different reasons:

1. They function as an extraconstitutional "Fourth Branch" of government, without the scutiny that the other branches receive. Many of our laws are written, in whole or in part, by the non-elective leaders of these groups, yet they remain relatively unknown to the public (who are expected to fund and obey these laws).

2. They sometimes corrupt our elected leaders with bribes, whether legal or not, to get the legislation they want passed. This erodes the standards that Congressmen and Congresswomen are sworn to uphold, and creates a "climate of corruption" which spills over into other forms of official conduct as well.

3. As their right to "petition the government" is protected by the First Amendment, limiting their power is difficult, and so far, they have grown in strength and numbers at the expense of everyone who they don't represent.

4. The government worked better before the interest groups became so powerful. Lobbies in their present form were not envisioned by the founders, and as a result, there are insufficient checks and balances built into our current system. While every interest group has a right to be heard in Washington, none of them have a right to subvert the processes of government, and that is what is happening today
Posted by Martley 2 years ago
Martley
You should really clarify your position. It's not clear who's who here
Posted by Cyberlord 2 years ago
Cyberlord
I would like to debate, but I'd like to know your stance on this topic before. I mean you wanna start a debate without clarifying on which side you stand...
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
Look up IKE's Industry Complex Speech.
Posted by Cold-Mind 2 years ago
Cold-Mind
@msintelligent28 You should have made an opinion or poll for questions. You need to make a statement for debate.
Posted by ChadIrvin 2 years ago
ChadIrvin
As your stance on the pro side of this debate, do you believe that special interest groups are dangerous and too powerful? Or do you believe they are beneficial?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 2 years ago
FuzzyCatPotato
msintelligent28samsvoTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 2 years ago
Cold-Mind
msintelligent28samsvoTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro seems not to take into account government is interest group as well, and that democracy is arrangement of big interest groups. Con seems not to realize that evidence is nothing else then providing more subjective opinions that support the first one. Even though resolution is flawed, both made good arguments. I will award Con because Pro forfeited.