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Kafka Trap

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

One of the key debate techniques for people promoting critical race theory is what might be considered linguistic arm-twisting. A social justice warrior might say, “If you say you’re not a racist, that just proves you are a racist.” How do you answer this charge?

Greg Koukl was on my radio program to talk about how to respond to various religious and political claims and statements. He referred to this debate technique as the “Kafka trap.” In his novel, The Trial, Kafka presents a totalitarian world in which a man is arrested and accused of a crime. When he protests that he is not guilty of a crime, the state argues that his claims to innocence show he is guilty.

You can probably see the verbal sleight-of-hand being used by activists who argue everyone is a racist. If you admit to being a racist, then you are a racist. If you deny you’re a racist, then you are also a racist.

The “you’re a racist either way” is a classic example of the Kafka trap. The thought police in our society today have rigged the system. It’s a “heads I win” and “tails you lose” debate technique. The presence of some people who are racist does not argue for the belief that all people are racist and it trivializes true racial bigotry.

Koukl recognizes that attempting to banter with such a person would likely be ineffective. Someone who really believes that offering counter-evidence is nevertheless proof of racism might not be open to reason.

However, if you want to point out the problem with the argument, you might use it back on him or her. “Do you know what social justice means?” “Of course, I do.” You can then respond, “That proves you don’t. No one who really understands social justice thinks he understands it.”

Don’t fall for this linguistic trick. It is illogical and irrational. viewpoints new web version

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