Thursday, December 20, 2007

All Politics Are Interest Group Politics

Regarding the new energy bill, Cato-at-Liberty asks, somewhat rhetorically:

Why are these mandates necessary? If the changes are as sensible as Congress and
the White House claim, consumers would make them privately. Indeed, the data indicate that consumer preference for fuel-efficient cars is stronger than what the economics would justify. So then, what is this energy bill really all about?

The answer: interest groups- the Iowa farmers, the agriculture lobby, and environmental interest groups that are, contrary to popular opinion, quite powerful since they represent a large group of voters, have a fair amount of funding, and have an enormous amount of influence with the public, and particularly with other Progressive and centrist interest groups.

Oh yeah, they also get to call themselves the weasel words "public interest groups." That phrase is one of the most ridiculous in the English language- there is no such thing as a "public interest group," any more than there is such things as a "special interest group." All interest groups are private interests seeking to advance a cause that is of particular importance to their members. The notion of a "public interest group" simply means that the members of the group think that they know what's best for everyone who is not a member of the group but is still a member of the "public." Of course, the public never elected these interest groups, so it's hard to understand why these groups actually represent the public interest (if there even IS such a thing). Meanwhile, "special interests" often legitimately think (rightly or wrongly) that advancing their cause is in the best interest of the public, for one reason or another- which makes every interest group a "public interest group."