More on the Plausible Threat

This is in response to Joe’s QOTD here by JFK

JFK’s concept is what I’ve dubbed the “Plausible Threat” influence in human interaction.  Reagan referred to it as “Peace Through Strength”.  My Plausible Threat concept is of the same nature, but is much more broad.

Why does someone do some something he doesn’t want to do, when he is told to do it?  Why does someone avoid doing something he wants do to, when told not to do it?  Often it’s because he sees a plausible threat of some kind looming over him, which will harm him in some way if he doesn’t tow the line.  It applies in all sorts of interactions and life decisions.  In some cases there is a moral factor, wherein a person’s conscience is more prominent in the decision making process.  In other cases it is the plausible threat that tips the scale.  In yet other cases the plausible threat is not enough, and a person or group will act in spite of it, i.e. it’s a gamble wherein the perceived benefits are deemed greater than the perceived threat.  The threat could be anything from minor social tension to global nuclear annihilation.

Our second amendment is, in part, to guarantee a natural right, but also it is to ensure a plausible threat as insurance against growing tyranny. 

We’ve seen on TV shows like Survivor what most people will do for a million dollars.  What would some people or groups of people be willing to do for several trillion dollars, their own army, and the power to substantially control millions of people?  It would take a very plausible threat indeed to dissuade the sort of motivations we’re seeing in that arena, and we have a long way to go before the whole of the people are armed well enough, organized well enough, and act in such a way as to dissuade the sorts of tyranny already in place, and the sorts that we have yet to see.

3 thoughts on “More on the Plausible Threat

  1. Very insightful. Here’s the thing, though–I think they could legalize private ownership of tactical nukes tomorrow, but even with that I don’t see how the threat of revolt could rise to the level of plausible. Some places, maybe…but not here, at least not yet. It’s been about 150 years, but people are still terrified.

  2. Plausible threat. I like that. It is the calculus thugs, muggers and footpads make when they consider that the frail they intend to cosh for lunch money might be armed and so swing the cost-benefit relationship into (for them) the red and towards lawful employment. Come to think of it, considering that it is Leftists who want to remove plausible threats to criminals’ continued safety from the hands of their prey, “Red” is an appropriate hue for having the safety benefit in the criminals’ side.

    What I was originally going to say is that “plausible threat” is what has made the IRS the most successful mail order business in the history of the world and post offices. It is also (or rather the lack thereof) that has caused crime to skyrocket in the decades since JFK expressed that concept.

    What is the general level of crime now, about that of 1970? I understand that it has gone way down from the 80’s, but that isn’t saying much since it increased so much from circa 1959 to circa 1968.

    “Proud Kennedy Democrat”. I wonder if the Leftists would understand the slur if people (Republicans) started to call themselves that?

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