Pluralism vs. Elitism
Running head: PLURISM VS. ELITISM
Pluralism vs. Elitism
John L. Payne
January 13, 2010
University of Phoenix
This paper will give my judgment on to which theory best describes wealth and power in the United States, pluralism or elitism
Pluralism vs. Elitism
As described by Domhoff, an elitist is a person or group of people who use their influence to sway the opinion of those who make public policy. The elite of our time serve as board of directors, CEOs and trustees of some of the biggest and most successful businesses in the world (Domhoff, 2006). Pluralists believe that there should be a balance within government giving all a voice to express their opinion and then make public policy. Pluralists ideas were a key factor in setting up a check and balances system within our government. James Madison was a key figure in the process. Although these checks and balances exist, it is my belief that the elitist method is the method used to make most of the major decisions in our nation today. Those that have power in America today can get what they want done.
Many of the decisions made by our government are based on the attitudes and wishes of those in power. This includes big businesses, political action groups, special interest groups and lobbyist who persuade those in government to vote in favor or against issues which affect their certain group. Even though our government is structured to encourage checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches, this is not always the case. The group with the most power, money and influence usually get what they want.
In November of 2007 I participated in an effort to pass Proposition 15 on the Texas voting ballot. Proposition 15 would secure $3 billion over the next 10 years in cancer research and prevention programs in the state of Texas, and create the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world??™s largest private breast cancer organization persuaded their supporters in Texas that this proposition was vital to our state and with their supporters help Proposition 15 was successful. In my opinion, the power of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was a big reason why the proposition passed. The organization set up meetings with Congressman and women from all districts in Texas as well as State Representatives to express their support of the proposition and support of those would help get it passed. In Tennessee, a change in the legislature has eased gun laws in the state and the National Rifle Association has had a big part in making it happen. Gun owners won the right to carry firearms into sporting events, onto playgrounds and temporarily into bars.
Many other states have followed suit mainly because of a pig push by the NRA. Through successful lobbying, the NRA has been successful in blocking attempts by the government to make gun laws tougher on gun owners. ???This is all a coordinated approach to respect that human, God-given right of self defense by law-abiding Americans,” says Chris W. Cox, the NRAs chief lobbyist. “Well rest when all 50 states allow and respect the right of law-abiding people to defend themselves from criminal attack” (Schelzig, 2009). Because of its power and large amount of supporters, the NRA can yield its power in Washington and get laws eased or passed in favor of gun owners across America. This, in my opinion is a prime example of the elite, running our country. Without the lobbying of the NRA and the pressure of its members put on our representatives in Washington, gun laws would be much stricter and left up to lawmakers to decide.
Although we like to believe that the checks and balances built into our governmental structure works effectively, there are groups that exist in our country who have the power to get want they want. Whether is be by hiring lobbyist, supporting a certain candidate or investing large amounts of money in an ad campaign to support a cause, those in power have the resources to get what they deem important passed. The checks and balances that exist for our three branches of government do not exist for these elitist groups. They are able to use their influence to sway the opinion of those able to get laws passed.
James Madison, sometimes referred to as the father of the U.S. Constitution, believed in a system of checks and balances for a balanced government. Madison believed that these checks and balances were necessary to ensure the personal rights of the citizens or the United States. If Madison were alive today, I doubt that he would approve of the way our government decides what laws to pass and who decides what groups to support. Madison believed that it was better for many groups to support republican values than just a few. It is clear that the opposite is now the case in America; a few interest groups have all the power. Madison wrote to the people of the State of New York, that the check and balances of departments of the government was essential to the liberty of all Americans (Madison, 1788). Unfortunately, Americans are not always involved in the decisions made by our elected officials because they would rather listen to those who can get them re-elected. As discussed in Who Rules America. Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance 6th Edition, members of the Business Round Table is made up of directors of a few companies and they decide what issues will be discussed.
As American citizens we should be concerned with who is really running our country and influencing what laws our lawmakers are creating and passing. We should stop and consider if voting for our officials is true representation of our beliefs. With the power that many businesses and interest groups have, are we truly being governed by our elected officials or by special interests groups
Domhoff, G. W. (2010). Who Rules America. Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Madison, J. (1788). The Federalist #51. Independent Journal.
Schelzig, Erik. (2009, December 9). NRA quietly winning battles for looser gun laws. The