We encounter empty threats on a daily basis. We understand that there are certain rules that we must live by for fear of consequence.
Many of these rules are useful ways of structuring a society. Others are merely tradition or social mores that have been passed down with no real purpose except to cede power to one party or another. Some have real and dangerous consequences, others garner their strength through our anticipation alone. We tacitly enter into these agreements and fall into these power structures without consideration of whether it is truly in our best interest.