Welcome to the Cato Institute’s project to counter threat inflation.

Americans cannot go a day without hearing dire warnings of pending disaster and doom from pundits and policymakers. While fear serves an important purpose in evaluating threats, danger lies in misunderstanding the realities and likelihoods of different threats. Exaggerating the threat of something sensational but improbable means we’re more liable to be under prepared for threats that, while not as headline grabbing, are much more likely.

The project to counter threat inflation is a “one‐​stop shop” for those seeking clarity on potential threats to U.S. national security. It features Cato’s extensive work on the topic, as well as fresh new content to counter the incessant fear‐​mongering by what Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen call the “Threat‐​Industrial Complex.” From events and podcasts, to full‐​length policy analyses, the project to counter threat inflation aims to ameliorate fears by placing threats to U.S. national security in proper context. And we will call out examples of threat inflation, while praising those that offer an accurate, honest assessment of the dangers around us, or make note of our relative safety.

If you have any examples of threat inflation (or of a comment worthy of praise), please email jknupp@cato.og or direct message us on Twitter. If we use your example, you will receive a free book from the Cato Institute’s extensive library on threat deflation.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #threatinflation

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RECOMMENDED HISTORICAL CONTENT

Transcript of Farewell Address to the Nation
By Dwight D. Eisenhower (1961)

President Eisenhower delivers his farewell address and cautions against “unwarranted influence… by the Military‐​Industrial Complex.”


Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well‐​wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.


The Boy Who Cried Wolf
By Aesop (~600 BC)

But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.