Seneca, Moral Epistle 87.41
“Let’s imagine that we are called to an assembly: a law is on offer concerning outlawing wealth. Would we be advocating for or against it based on our philosophical arguments? Could we use our disputations to persuade the Roman people to request and praise poverty, that fundamental cause of our own empire, and also to fear their own wealth?
Could we make them see that they have discovered it among those they have conquered, to understand that from wealth ambition, corruption, and strife have disrupted a city once the most sacred and moderate, that thanks to it we show off the spoils of other nations excessively; and that whatever one people have stolen from all others can be easily taken back from the one by everyone else?
It is enough to advocate for the law and to control our own actions rather than to write our way around them. Let us speak more bravely, if we can; if we cannot, more honestly.”
Putemus nos ad contionem vocatos; lex de abolendis divitiis fertur. His interrogationibus suasuri aut dissuasuri sumus? His effecturi, ut populus Romanus paupertatem, fundamentum et causam imperii sui, requirat ac laudet, divitias autem suas timeat, ut cogitet has se apud victos repperisse, hinc ambitum et largitiones et tumultus in urbem sanctissimam et temperantissimam inrupisse, nimis luxuriose ostentari gentium spolia, quod unus populus eripuerit omnibus, facilius ab omnibus uni eripi posse? Hanc satius est suadere et expugnare adfectus, non circumscribere. Si possumus, fortius loquamur; si minus, apertius. Vale.