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A Kafka trap is a fallacy where if someone denies being x it is taken as evidence that the person is x since someone who is x would deny being x. The name is derived from the novel The Trial by the Czech writer Franz Kafka. The reason this is fallacious is that it lumps together people who genuinely are not guilty of a perceived offense in with people who have committed the perceived offence and are trying to escape punishment.

Examples[]

  • If a totalitarian government were purging its political opponents and someone denied being an opponent of the government but the government decided that since an opponent of the government would deny being one that person must be an enemy of the government.
  • A school system system implements progressive policies and explains that these policies are intended to improve tolerance of non-binary gender identities. If a parent has concerns that these policies may be resulting in unintended consequences, this is evidence that the parent either hates non-binary gender identities or is secretly non-binary.
  • A policing service implements progressive policies and explains that these policies are intended to improve social justice. If a citizen has concerns that these policies may be resulting in unintended consequences, this is evidence that the citizen is racist.
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