You see it in print, be it black and white or electronic. You hear it cross the lips of countless cantankerous citizens at the daily lunch counter. You watch as it is bandied about in every other political ad you see, regardless of the party. Special interests. The term itself prompts a visceral reaction in most of the electorate. We can all imagine those special interest people (if the political ads have not already done the job for us with the standard set-up of the fat-cat sitting behind a desk with his feet propped up, cigar in hand) in our minds, doing everything they can do twist the government to their wants, defying the needs and desires of the general public.
The fact of the matter is, why are these interests special? I mean, in the literal sense of the word, are these interests really that special?
The following information comes straight from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Definition of SPECIAL
: distinguished by some unusual quality; especially : being in some way superior
: held in particular esteem
a : readily distinguishable from others of the same category : unique
b : of, relating to, or constituting a species : specific
: being other than the usual : additional, extra
: designed for a particular purpose or occasion
A thorough dissection of the word, indeed. However, allow me to go through each variation of the definition and explain why 'special' does not apply to what is trying to be accomplished by the people attempting to either create, alter, weaken or delete laws to suit their purposes.
1) While some of these groups may have unusual people in them, it is a rare that the ideas that they are espousing are not either a retread or a continuation of the methods or model by which people with the same interests operated before. Precedent nullifies their specialness.
2) This is the easiest definition to refute, as these groups are usually held in the exact opposite of 'esteem.'
3) The methods by which many of these groups operate beg borrow and steal from each other. Now it is easily understood that while some of these groups practice less than stellar methods, some of these groups are honest and straightforward, just not unique. Hence the predictability of the type of ads that many 'special' interests run against other 'special interests'. Yep, nothing special here.
4) Is it not usual that people have specific notions towards what they believe is the best way to handle a situation? Is it not usual to be wholly invested in a small slice of government practices?
5) This last definition is the most difficult to argue against. However, it would have been the cowards way out to just delete it from my essay and pretend it doesn't exist. Therefore I will make this case: I would argue that many of the special interests have multiple purposes and occasions to which they would want to inject their particular ideas. Yes, perhaps they are working towards one proposal on the ballot in Michigan. However, their same ideas may be re-purposed towards the election (or defeat) a particular State representative in Nebraska. This multiplicity in action defies a description of being designed for a particular purpose or occasion. You may argue that I am arguing semantic differences here, and I would tell you that is the whole point of the diary, man.
So, what to do about this obvious misuse of terminology? Why redefine it, of course. I humbly suggest that we call these groups what they are: Narrow Interests. Let us look to our friends at Merriam-Webster again:
Definition of NARROW
2 limited in size or scope
A narrow interest group would then be defined as a group whose interests are limited in size or scope. Whether or not the ideas put forth by the interest group are destined or even meant to benefit the electorate as a whole or even majority, I believe that it would be factual to say that the group has a limit to either its actual size or at the very least the scope of what they hope to accomplish. Narrow Interest groups have certain things they want to accomplish. Sure, we do not live in a vacuum wherein the members of these groups may have other individual ideas that contradict or relate in no way towards the ideas of the group, but we must approach this definition in the sense of the collective mindset of the group, and not the unique machinations of the individuals residing in the group.
That is my position. Narrow Interest Groups not only better defines these groups, but also dispels the notion that these actions are in any way unique or 'special.' Perhaps you have a better way to address these groups. That is why I have included a poll in this diary. Obviously, "other" can defined in the comment section.
Now, I have not included any dancing babies or kittens squeaking out the word "mommy" anywhere in my diary, so I do not expect this to go viral. But, if someday, someone with some clout picks this up and runs with it, I call dibs on being the catalyst.