Normally, children learn to gauge rather accurately from the tone of their parent's voice how seriously to take his threats. Of course, they sometimes misjudge and pay the penalty.
It is the common failing of totalitarian regimes that they cannot really understand the nature of our democracy. They mistake dissent for disloyalty. They mistake restlessness for a rejection of policy. They mistake a few committees for a country. They misjudge individual speeches for public policy.
We misjudge risk if we feel we have some control over it, even if it's an illusory sense of control.
Last Update: January, 2020