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Where have I been? It turns out the phenomenon I pointed out in "It's Not My Fault I React Badly to Accusations of Racism" has a name of relatively recent derivation, Kafkatrapping. I even named Kafka and The Trial in the comments of the post, and that's what kafkatrapping's name comes from. It's well worth reading the page.

Comments (7)

I liked John C. Wright's response to a reader who was accused of being fascist:

Dave, that is because, in reality, to which you are loyal, words have meaning, and the word fascist means a national socialist totalitarian. The Morlock is loyal to unreality. In unreality words, have emotional import only, and are used only to express emotions, much like the barking of a dog expresses anger, or the purr of a cat expresses pleasure. What you are reading is a Rorschach blot of words, merely one subjective meaning plastered atop another, forming the verbal version of what, when expressed visually, is seen in a modern art museum as a can of shit, or a bottle of urine, or some other thing alleged to be art. In unreality, ‘fascist’ means BARK! BARK! BARK!

Now, a rational man who was angry with me, I would ask him his grounds. A Morlock has no grounds, he has only anger and despair. For them, all emotions are self justifying. Emotion is the only reality.

That is the definition of a Morlock, a post-human. A Morlock is someone who surrenders his reason to postmodern nihilism, or racism, or tribalism, or some other form of Antichrist. A Morlock is someone who feeds on helpless human flesh, metaphorically speaking.

To which I replied that the appropriate response to a dog trying to bully you with its bark is a swat on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

Kafkatrapping is a new term worth carefully memorizing. I feel like I should write it down in several obvious places so that I am certain to not forget it, heck maybe I should write out the entire list of Kafkatrapping models, just in case! I would be remiss if I didn't recall my long gone english teacher telling us; "Legend has it that Kafka was known for rolling on the floor in fits of laughter when reading his stories to his friends, and I suspect, they would often find themselves laughing hysterically as well before the end." (It's a rough quote from memory from 40 years back but it's close enough for who it's for ;-)

"Kafkatrapping" (great word!) is related to, or maybe a species of, that rhetorical tactic Orwell identified in Politics and the English Language, in which the speaker uses loaded buzzwords and phrases that he thinks will do the real heavy lifting of his argument for him. I run into this all the time from committed SJW types, very recently, in fact. This sort of bullying, in which an idea or statement is invalidated on the basis that it is racist, or misogynist, or what have you, draws ever more people into its dominion not only because people are afraid of the disapprobation of their friends, but because people are intellectually lazy. This style of "argument" is not just flattering to the egos of the people making it, who can bask smugly in their superior virtue merely by using boo words like white supremacy, they also savor the false satisfaction of having made an irrefutable argument without ever having made a real argument at all.

So Kafkatrapping is basically a 21st century version of the loaded question. Or perhaps, depending on context, a version of poisoning the well.

I think it's more than that, Lydia. The classic loaded question, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" can be negated by saying, "I've never beaten my wife in my life." Kafkatrapping means something else, like someone saying, "Your denial that you ever beat your wife is evidence that you think about beating her, and maybe you're even denying that you beat her because you feel guilty about those times you did." When we say it about wife-beating, it's obviously stupid; when we say it about racism, it works perversely well.

I see your point. I think that kind of thing started with Mr. Freud. "Your denial that you hate your father and are in love with your mother just shows how deeply you really hate your father."


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