Special Interests Aren’t So Special

Megan has an interesting post on the situation with Israel and the Palestinians. At the end, she gets to the heart of things:

One of the great strengths of conservatism is the recognition that all politics is interest-group politics, and all interest groups have more or less explicit ulterior motives.

I’m not sure this is a conservative attribute – there are plenty of Democratic politicians who seem to have mastered the subject. At any rate, interest-group politics is all you have left if you take away any coherent system of thought, i.e. ideology. Without ideology, all you have are tribes. Our modern society is full of cross-cutting cleavages, so most of us belong to several tribes, often in conflict with one another. Even ideologues have tribal interests and sometimes sacrifice ideology for personal or tribal interests.

There is an excellent treatment of interest group politics here. Understand this, as well as Public Choice Theory, and you’ll understand most of what goes on in the world of politics.


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