I've found a reference in a Jewish text from the mid-19th century to a "gentile sage" (an expression usually referring to a Greek philosopher, but it could be any non-Jewish person really) who said that an assembly or parliament which was elected without any opposition is not fit for purpose and should be dissolved, because an opposition is vital to sound decision-taking. Can anyone give me any clue as to who might have said this? Thanks!

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    Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Could you link the text, or reference it, please.
    – Conifold
    Oct 24, 2019 at 19:56
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    It's here hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1010&pgnum=238 - section 20 of Benjamin Aryeh Hakohen Weiss's "Even Yekarah". A partial translation into English is to be found in 'The Jewish Political Tradition' vol 3, pages 408-409.
    – Zarka
    Oct 24, 2019 at 19:58
  • Apologies, correct link should be hebrewbooks.org/…
    – Zarka
    Sep 25, 2021 at 17:24
  • I get the impression that the wording is a significant paraphrase, since no specific Google search for "should be dissolved" "no opposition" "no dissent" etc. yields anything from an ancient writer that fits (and hardly anything from not-so-ancient ones). Google Bard claims that the sentiment can be found in Polybius, but so far from scouring lists of quotes from him, I have not located the assertion even in another form. Dec 6, 2023 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


Not exactly what you ask but close if you treat cannot be secure as the flip of should be dissolved

No government can be long secure without a formidable opposition

Benjamin Disraeli

Dunno about 'gentile sage' but Disraeli was a 19th century English PM of Jewish descent, though his father left Judaism.

  • This is a great find!
    – Scott Rowe
    Dec 6, 2023 at 23:38

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