Hans Kelsen för ett resonemang i ”Foundations of Democracy”, publicerad i Ethics, om hur frihet (i betydelsen politiskt självbestämmande) och demokrati (i betydelsen majoritetsprincip) förhåller sig till varandra:
The individual is always born into an already established social order and normally also into a pre-existent state in the creation of which he did not participate. Only the change, the development, of this order is practically in question. In this respect the principle of a simple, not a qualified, majority constitutes the relatively greatest approximation to the idea of freedom. According to this principle, among the subjects of the social order the number of those who approve the order will always be larger than the number of those who entirely or in part disapprove but remain bound by the order. At the moment when the number of those who disapprove the order, or one of its norms, becomes greater than the number of those who approve, a change is possible by which a situation is re-established in which the order is in concordance with a number of subjects which is greater than the number of subjects with whom it is in discordance.
The idea underlying the principle of majority is that the social order shall be in concordance with as many subjects as possible and in discordance with as few as possible. Political freedom means agreement between the individual will and the collective will expressed in the social order. Consequently it is the principle of simple majority which secures the highest degree of political freedom that is possible within society. If an order could not be changed by the will of a simple majority of the subjects but only by the will of all (that means, unanimously), or by the will of a qualified majority (for instance, by a two-thirds or a three-fourths majority vote), then one single individual, or a minority of individuals, could prevent a change of the order. And then the order could be in discordance with a number of subjects which would be greater than the number of those with whose will it is in concordance.
Har han rätt? Är friheten (i betydelsen politiskt självbestämmande) störst när en enkel majoritet fattar de politiska besluten? Kanske, men frågan är om politiskt självbestämmande är den enda målvariabeln att beakta. Buchanan och Tullock menar t.ex. att även externa kostnader (dvs. kostnader av att beslut medborgarna ogillar fattas) bör tas med i kalkylen – och dessa är avtagande i den grad i vilken beslutsregeln är kvalificerad.