by Robert Gressis
I talk with Kevin Currie-Knight (East Carolina University) about Kafkatraps. Kafkatrapping is a rhetorical technique where an objection to a particular charge will be used as evidence of that charge. (Are you a communist? If you say “no,” that just shows how sneaky a communist you are.) Rob and Kevin talk about how and why Kafkatraps work, their uses in cults, conspiracy theories, and other insular movements, and a few articles Kevin has written (for the Electric Agora) about Kafkatraps.
7:32 – When denials confirm the charge: what are Kafkatraps and how do they work? 16:31 – Kafkatrapping has a lengthy history 23:15 – Why do people (even unintentionally) employ Kafkatraps? 40:38 – Plausible and implausible reasons to doubt/dismiss the testimony of others 45:12 – Why cults often use Kafkatrapping techniques (and how Kevin almost became a scientologist) 54:34 – Why cults have to be small to see themselves as special 1:00:20 – How conspiracy theorists use Kafkatraps to dismiss naysayers
Kevin’s essays for EA on Kafkatraps