The biggest threat to any social system may be a competing social system. They “strongly discourage” competition.
What is even the purpose of social systems? Their purpose is to persist in producing systemic inequitable redistributions of power. They serve to organize (regulate) inequality.
Perhaps the biggest threat would be calm, alert, well-organized, well-supplied people of far above average intelligence. A system thrives on compliance, loyalty, obedience, and servitude. Any threat to enthusiastic participation in the system is a threat to the system, for it is nothing but a system of human behavior.
The terrified masses act not out of careful reflection and logic, but out of emotional herding instincts. If enough organisms in their midst display signals that “everything is safe,” then members of the herd may even resist their own observation of possible threat to the safety of the herd itself or any individual. If enough organisms in their midst display signals that “there is a present threat,” then any members of the herd who have investigated the alleged threat and found it to be “less threatening than expected” may also experience first eagerness and then fear about displaying their conclusions to others.
What if the big threat that those in the herd are experiencing is “the possible perception of any non-conformity on the part of me as an individual?” What if that is why they are so resistant to (or even disturbed by) any unfamiliar information from anything but the perceived authority of the herd (the spokesperson)?
“Why are the herds so herdlike? Why are they so emotional? Why are they so social? Why are emotions so social? …Since herds are notably unintelligent, and intelligence is good, then herds are bad, right? Since herds are bad, then obviously our group is not a herd, right?!?!”
Herds formed because herding together can produce advantages. Herds are not always good or always bad, but are always herds.
The reality is that herding is cyclic. It alternates between times of concentrating and deconcentrating. Herds centralize and decentralize. Herds condense and dissolve.
New herds are always forming. Some grow. Some shrink.
Some herds value intelligence in general (at least for a while). Some herds violently discourage displays of intelligence (such as logic or leaps of innovation that are “too big” relative to a familiar paradigm). Of course, highly intelligent herd members may notice that displaying their intelligence may or may not be favorable.
In the case of the massive modern herds called “nations,” they form, shrink, grow, and even merge. Many “independent” political units unified in Europe a few decades back in to The European Union. Shortly before that, a massive political unit known as “the Soviet Union” dissolved.
Within massive herds, there are a variety of groupings and sub-groupings. There are privileged classes, like independent contractors licensed by a government (MDs, plumbers, etc) or even specially-protected groups (like oath-sworn law enforcement officials). There are ambassadors and convicts. There are targets for rewards and for punishment.
There may be propaganda about herds in general as well as about particular herds. There may be propaganda about intelligence and other traits identified socially as “good” or “bad,” such as certain emotions demonized as “negative.”
Herds of humans are distinct from each other through many contrasts. One type of contrast is a particular herd’s habits in the use of language (their communication rituals). What do people in a particular group call themselves? What do they say about their group and other groups? What do they say about sub-groups within their groups?
“That other sub-group is the problem with our herd,” says one sub-group in one herd. A contrasting comment is “No, that other group way over there is where we should focus instead… because they are a serious threat to the future of our own collective group. We need to unify to respond to their threat!”
Some may even say, “my perception is that this herd is not offering me what I value most. Maybe a new pattern of relating (and communicating) would work better for me.”