A reader writes:

In White-liberal white-baiting link-baiting gone wild you mentioned this:

Make an outlandish statement about White people.

Watch White people react in denial.

Use denial reaction as proof you were right all along.

There’s a word for this logical Fallacy. It’s called Kafkatrapping.

In short it takes the form of using denial of guilt as proof of guilt. Here’s the blog that explains it very well.

I think the term should be used more widely.

Absolutely, and thanks for the heads up.

Kafkatrapping now not only is in our vocabulary, it’s a “tag” (I need to go back and add it to past posts).

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post explaining it, Kafkatrapping:

One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap….

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.