dagNotes: Melville got it right about the wrong thing
“I prefer not to” is a problematic expression of individualism and liberty. It’s prevalent and results in nothing good. After all, Bartleby ends up a dead letter, eventually a starved corpse. Alone. So much for libertarian expression of being-free-from-others.
“Because I want to” is worse. It’s the always already stated though assumed subordinate clause in white power discourse. And it’s not an alienating clause. It’s a clause that established rules and order within a community. It’s a gift for white subjects born into unearned ambition–a gift of privilege. It’s a goal for minority subjects within the white order, if you will. We daily struggle against this clause.