Special Interest Groups - Lobbyist
Everyday we hear that lobbyists are pushing their agenda in Washington. Lobbyists are defined as people who try (and many times succeed) to influence legislation and policy.
We are all part of Special Interest Groups whether organized or not. Each of us have characteristics, prejudices, ideologies, and just plain likes and dislikes which place us in groups. Some of us are Catholic business owners in Missouri, some are gay soldiers serving in Iraq, and the diversity is as infinite as the number of individuals.
The primary question is what affect should these groups have on how legislation is considered and its effect on individuals.
If we are to believe in the premise "that all men are created equal" and they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights amongst which, but not limited to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness as announced to the world in The Declaration of Independence and if we are to believe that the United States Constitution is in effect a document created to enshrine and protect those Rights for men (used in the gender inclusive sense of course), then it must be concluded that laws included and derived from it should be guided by these tenets.
This is further strengthened by the 14th Amendment, Section I of the Constitution which codifies "Equal Protection of the Laws".
So, while we all have special interests and many times have established groups to push our agendas when it comes to legislation one must consider and vet the adoption and application of these laws.
Inherent in giving special treatment or consideration for their agenda or beliefs through legislation, be it race, income, industry, religious, or many others is the removal or degradation of Rights for others, thereby establishing unequal protection.
Preferential treatment to specified individuals based on their ideology, beliefs, status, or any other factor that qualifies as different from any other individual either through taxation or benefit creates a conflict with being a part of the one Special Interest Group we can all identify; being an American.
So, while I believe Lobbyists and Special Interest Groups can be a positive influence in bringing important issues to the table. It is always important to remember that in order to grant special treatment to one set of individuals you are taking from others to create that treatment.