Bruno Leoni points out that elections are seriously flawed because majority rule is incompatible with individual freedom of choice (1961)

Bruno Leoni

Bruno Leoni, in Freedom and the Law (1961), noted two serious problems with political voting, namely that it often volated individual freedom and resulted in rule by a minority:

But voting itself seems to increase the difficulties relating both to the meaning of “representation” and to the “freedom” of the individuals in making their choice. … Election is the result of a group decision where all the electors are to be considered as the members of a group, for instance, of their constituencies or of the electorate as a whole. We have seen that group decisions imply procedures like majority rule which are not compatible with individual freedom of choice of the type that any individual buyer or seller in the market enjoys as well as in any other choice he makes in his private life. The effects of coercion in the machinery of voting have been repeatedly pointed out by politicians, by sociologists, by political scientists (such as J.S. Mill who observed that) political issues are decided “by a majority of the majority who may be, and often are, but a minority of the whole.”

As another presidential and congressional election is upon us, we turn to one of the great legal and political analyses of the electoral process by the Italian jurist Bruno Leoni. In this quote from his 1961 lectures Leoni observes that fundamentally elections are a result of group decisions which produce decisions which are not compatible with individual freedom of choice. Furthermore, he suggest that coercion is frequently involved in the “machinery of voting”. The much touted benefits of “majority rule” in fact produce outcomes which are desired by only a “majority of the majority”, which in reality are that of a minority of the people.