there is a form of rhetorical attack called a KAFKA TRAP. it’s a logical sophism akin to inverting a “no true scottsman” fallacy. it has long been the tool of the dishonest and oppressive to prevent and punish dissent and it’s making a major comeback so i’d like to walk through how it works so that folks can see it coming and call it out as the disingenuous and invalid tactic that it is.
in essence, a kafka trap is logical fallacy to transform denial into proof.
it begins with an accusation. “you are a criminal!”
it is triggered by a denial. “no, i am not.”
the trap itself lies in taking the denial as evidence. “of course you deny it! that’s just what a criminal would say! this proves you’re guilty!”
now, clearly, when we lay it out in this fashion and imagine a court run this way, it’s immediately apparent that this would be a kangaroo proceeding of the highest order with no foundations in fact, justice, or possibility of innocence. show this to anyone in the context of shoplifting and they’ll agree it’s an absurd standard. no one wants to live like that.
but as we have seen so many times, the denizens of wokesville are all about erecting non-interrogatable salients and elevating them to the purported level of objective fact. this allows them to pretend that they are “science” and “justice” rather than the precepts of a jihadi religion.
this weaponizes a post modernist structure into something altogether predatory and pernicious. (more detail HERE) it’s also fundamentally dishonest and much of the output becomes the equivalent of a kafka trap.
consider the example of this canadian university professor. her crime? questioning the existence of “systemic racism.”
(full article HERE)
whether or not one believes in such a thing (or can even define it) surely most reasonable people can agree that asking questions about its existence or prevalence and even stating that one does not see evidence for such does not constitute racism. the truly pure of heart with no racism at all might similarly see others in the same light or, at least, fail to see a system supporting it or even (gasp) see affirmative action and mandated association and preferencing as a greater structural and intuitional racist threat than that posed by truly free association (no bans, non mandates).
alas, it would appear that these students are not reasonable people and that the deans that are supposed to lead them and set school standards are too craven and intellectually bereft to stand against them. (clearly a WIDESPREAD ISSUE)
note that the key crime here is “denial of systemic racism.” the rest seems to stem from it. here we have one orthodoxy:
and here we have it’s antipode.
this seems no different than raymond’s accusations and far less unkind. it lacks the personal invective he feels entitled and driven to use. she appears reasoned, he hostile. more disappointing (and pernicious) his whole argument is a kafka trap/no true scottsman fallacy.
“if you do not see structural racism, then you do not understand structural racism.”
“if you do not see structural racism then you are a racist and are upholding racist ideologies.”
this is not argumentation, it’s dogmatism. it’s a set of dishonest rhetoric from a limited, facile mind aping virtue and righteousness by hectoring into silence any who would disagree and by defining the failure to accept his precepts as violence, bigotry, and proof that he is right.
“if you disagree with me, it proves that i am correct” is not much of a position statement.
you’re not gonna make the debate team or even qualify as an actual thinking human running around making claims like that. a precocious 4 year old would laugh you out of preschool for making such an argument.
alas, the purpose of so much higher education at the moment is to weave endless semantic tangles and false, arbitrary performative rituals into the fabric of life and perception and render “the educated” unfit to debate a 4 year old in honest debate and win. the whole edifice is contrived to ensure that they will never have to. it’s very purpose is to make honest debate impossible and place discussion out of reach of the “uninitiated” though a series of shabby definitional shenanigans.
the fact that such salients are unfounded, hallucinatory, and absurd is a feature, not a bug. it makes them an ever more rarified and effective shibboleth to separate in group from out group and to exercise power.
this is just the replication of “the mass is in latin so the grubby commoners cannot understand it” as “the court is in doublespeak because we cannot allow the defendants to understand what is going on in their trials.”
and it works.
next thing you know, you have secret courts and secret reports. you have “sensitivity training” and “reeducation” that amount to maoist struggle sessions for the crime of asking whether the precepts of a philosophy have basis or the apostacy of claiming such foundational basis is lacking. no one gets to see the actual precepts or interrogate them in any honest fashion.
this is not justice. this is a kangaroo court held in a bouncy castle.
the debate here is not about racism or racist ideologies and this is what we need to remember.
she did nothing racist. they have moved the goalposts so that questioning whether others are racist is now a crime and refusing to accept the one true faith of critical race theory a form of apostasy. these are grand inquisitors and they are using the same bag of dirty rhetorical tricks once employed to root out heretics.
this is not academia, this is witch finding and the turtles on this stack all the way down. you can just endlessly iteratively apply this same trick to all criticism. when your critics cry “cancel culture, oppressive dogmatism” you respond “there is no cancel culture and anyone who claims there is is racist!”
wokedom is the most dishonest and hypocritical of philosophies. it’s really just the childish game of “punch, no punchbacks” elevated to the status of a religion in a theocracy.
it has taken the self-limiting and self-refuting games of post-modernism and made them into war. it has enabled the shallow vanity of its adherents by telling them their very weakness and dishonesty is virtue, status, and power.
it has rendered the braying mob a tyrant and cowed the craven. the lunatics are running the asylum and until someone stands up to it, it’s not going to stop. they do this by twisting and taking control of language. that is and always was the post modernist game. they turn the meanings of the words of definition into gibberish and prevent the speaking of the words of refutation by pronouncing them verboten.
if they control the language, they can frame the debate. reject the premise. reject their demands to conform your speech to their diktat. call things by their names and refuse to get sucked into the semantic maze they have erected to stymie and baffle and rig the discussion.
that’s how we stop this. debating in a rigged language designed to support fallacy, trap the unwary, and render the questioning of doctrinaire ideological payloads is a sucker bet.
it’s a rigged carnival game and if you play stupid games, expect stupid prizes.
don’t feed the carnival barker. don’t get sucked into clown world.