Soldier argument

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A soldier argument (aka arguments as soldiersA) is any argument that is used as a means of compelling or influencing others to agree with a particular preconceived position, rather than being a means of analyzing evidence and thereby arriving at a better understanding of the truth -- or, as Paul Krugman put it, "the way a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support, not for illumination."

Such arguments are made only when it suits a predetermined agenda, and ignored when it conflicts with that agenda. It a form of hypocrisy, i.e. advancing a given principle in cases where it supports one's beliefs but ignoring or denying it in cases where it contradicts those beliefs.

The worldview which supports this kind of argumentation is more or less synonymous with identity politics, where one's clique affiliation -- rather than reasoning from facts toward the achievement of a desired goal -- determines one's political position. It is one manifestation of ideological protectionism.

Common strategies used by those who take this worldview include the use of rhetorical manipulation and logical fallacies to persuade others of things that are essentially false.

Soldier arguments are often used to create and maintain epistemic closure, since opposing arguments of any kind are viewed as an "enemy" from which the clique must be protected rather than legitimate criticism which must be accepted if it cannot be refuted.


  • Voodoo argumentation is where the arguer uses plausible-sounding terms that they don't really understand.
  • A mirror argument is any argument that essentially reflects anticipated or past opposing arguments.