No Minister

Kafkatrapping

with 2 comments

I’d used this term a number of times in the past few years but it was not until the other day that I found out its origin, which was when it was named and defined by Eric Raymond in a post on his blog Armed and Dangerous, in 2010.

The definition given by Wiktionary is concise:

A sophistical rhetorical device in which any denial by an accused person serves as evidence of guilt.

But I think this, from the original post, is required reading if you’re going to understand the term, especially since it’s become so common now.

The kafkatrap is a form of argument that is so fallacious and manipulative that those subjected to it are entitled to reject it based entirely on the form of the argument, without reference to whatever particular sin or thoughtcrime is being alleged. I will also attempt to show that kafkatrapping is so self-destructive to the causes that employ it that change activists should root it out of their own speech and thoughts.

My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.

There is much more, presented in a beautifully coherent way.

Since this essay was published we’ve seen the growth of literally an entire industry – led by racist charlatans like Ibram “X” Kendi (real name Henry Rogers) and Robin DeAngelo – that have this as the primary method used in “anti-racist” training. It’s just amazing how many standards of civilized communication they can destroy!

The latest outfit that has fallen prey to this nonsense is, of all places, The Salvation Army.

No one can ever be innocent. Well, except the leaders of course.

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. So there’s a name for it! Good to know.

    Lucia Maria

    December 13, 2021 at 10:24 am

  2. […] Hat tip: Tom Hunter […]

    Word of the day | Homepaddock

    December 14, 2021 at 4:30 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: