Interest groups attract both commendation and criticism. In liberal democracies, encouraging and allowing formation and functioning of the organizations is perceived as a noble idea. However these bodies have had their fair share of controversies. The following are the pros of interest groups in the context of the American Society. Interest groups are formed with the aim of complementing the activities of the political class. They control formulation of policies which are against the wishes of the society and, therefore, lobby the leaders to amend or repeal such laws (Heywood, 2007). They are, therefore, regarded as the voice of the citizens who in most cases have minimal influence on the political elite since they have a limited knowledge on a number of issues. Thereby, interest groups are instrumental in guarding against unpopular policies or governmental directives which are likely to hurt the poor or the minority.
On the contrary, the critics of these organizations argue that the perception that public good exists is an illusion. To such people, there isn’t such a thing as public good. Rather, there are a variety of conflicting interests in the society (Monibot, 2011). Put in pedestrian terms, the needs of some groups of people would definitely conflict with those of competing associations. Thereby, they point out that these interest groups act against democracy by pushing or lobbying for the needs and wishes of the minority rather than allowing those of the majority to prevail. Some critics would also argue that these organizations appear to be the force against governments. Hence, sometimes they hold the government to ransom that even policies for the good of the country cannot be formulated and implemented. The government tends to pay attention to the most active interest groups, while ignoring those that lack either financial or influential power. It compromises the ability of the interests groups to influence the policy process. Irrespective of the criticisms, allowing interest groups leads to scrutiny of governmental activities with the objective of protecting those who are politically and economically disadvantaged within a country. Based on this view, I think that interest groups are good for the American society.