In 1947 Wheatley wrote A letter to Posterity and buried it in the grounds of his country house. It contains a remarkably prescient warning of the dangers of State socialism;
The doctrine of ensuring every child a good start in life and equal opportunities is fair and right, but the intelligent and the hardworking will always rise above the rest, and it is not a practical proposition that the few should be expected to devote their lives exclusively to making things easy for the majority. In time, such a system is bound to undermine the vigour of the race. If the rewards of ability and industry are to be taken from those who rise to the top, they will cease to strive, and if the masses are pampered too much they will regard protection from all the hazards of life as their right, and become lazy. There is only a limited amount of wealth in each nation’s resources. If it is not added to year by year by vigorous enterprise, made possible by the majority of the people doing an honest day’s work, but instead, gradually drained away in bettering the condition of the masses without their making an adequate return, the nation that follows such a policy is bound to go into a decline; then the general standard of living will fall, instead of becoming a Utopia, as the ‘all men are equal’ theorists fondly imagine.More remarkable is Wheatley's encouragement to a future generation to take direct action;
Therefore, if when this document is discovered, the people of Britain are bound to a state machine, my message to posterity is REBEL. All men are not equal. Some have imagination and abilities far above others. It is their province and their right to take upon themselves the responsibility of leading and protecting the less gifted.It's easy to be intellectually sniffy about Wheatley's uncomplicated love of nation, and his monochrome depiction of a country under Socialism, but the man's evident strength of feeling still hits the spot. Good old Dennis.
We are sent into this world to develop our own personality – to use such gifts as we have been given and to set an example to others by our courage, fortitude, sympathy, generosity and self-reliance. Any state which controls the lives of the people and dictates where they shall live, what work they shall do, what they shall see, say, hear, read and think, thwarts the free development of personality, and is therefore EVIL.
It will be immensely difficult to break the stranglehold of the machine, but it can be done, little by little; the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion. Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials.
Your life does not matter, but your freedom does. The age-old wisdom tells us that death is not to be feared, for it is but a release from life, leading to rebirth, and if one has lived and died courageously, as a finer, stronger personality. Therefore, if need be, fight for your RIGHT to live, work and love, how and where you will. If need be die for it. Your death will be an example to others that it is better to die fighting for your freedom and happiness than to live on as a slave.