The Military Superiority Fallacy

A common fallacy that sneaks its way into discussions is what I call the "Military Superiority Fallacy." I can't find this fallacy coined elsewhere, so I'm going to "invent it" here. This fallacy occurs when a person says something like "I was in the military" and tries to dishonestly establish some sort of expert authority on a matter when it has no role in the current discussion. This fallacy may also parallel with an inappropriate appeal to authority or emotion.

The Military Superiority Fallacy is tricky to point out because if you do, the other person may cast you off as being offensive or rude. A proper way to address this fallacy is something along the lines of saying, "I respect you for being in the military and defending our country, but this doesn't give you an edge over me in this discussion just because you were in the military." If someone uses military experience that gives actual merit to a certain claim such as, "I was in the military and know what it's like to be in perilous situations..." no fallacy is committed.

Example of the fallacy:

Me: Separation of church and state is a very important matter and people should be concerned about it. Church/State violations happen when the government favors one religion over another religion, religion over non-religion, or attempts to make a national religion.

Them: I was in the military and defended our country. Your version is wrong.

In the above case, the person's military experience does not lend expertise that is relevant to the argument. If the person added some evidence to defend the claim that "my version is wrong," there may not be a fallacy here. Either way, experience in the military does not give someone de facto knowledge about the law.

We often give great respect to people who served in the military...and this is fine, but this doesn't allow someone to have the upper hand in an argument when their information is incorrect or lacking. The Military Superiority Fallacy does not give someone an upper hand in an argument and should be "called out" by people who are victimized by it.

The Military Superiority Fallacy also occurs when people say things like "You can't understand what this country stands for unless you serve in the military" or "Well, you don't have the experience I do from the military and you have lots to learn in life because you go around telling people that there is no good reason to believe in a god."