The example where the employer threatens to fire the employee is very widespread for explaining this fallacy, but this doesn't feel quite right to me. The cases in which the scary factor is independent of the argument maker (who commits the fallacy), like this one (taken from wikipedia):
- General: "If we accept capitulation, the enemy will take the chance to slaughter us all."
- Colonel: "So far they have treated captives adequately."
- General: "This time they won't. And you better believe me if you don't want to find yourself rotting in a mass grave."
...seem to deserve the fallacy title, because the logic "jump" is made by "contaminating" the reasoning with an emotional response, leading to a conclusion that something is true, which might actually be false. On the other hand, when the threatening force is under the direct control of the argument maker, the result seems to be directly in the plane of concrete decision-making rather than judging the truth value of something as in the previous case. If we take it to the extreme:
- Alice: "The money or your life!" (points gun)
- Bob: "Okay :(" (hands money over)
...where's the logic error here? would you really call this a fallacy? Bob, facing two possible simple outcomes, chose an action that would very clearly bring about the least undesirable one. The only belief that changed for him is "I should give Alice all my money" to true, the same way his belief "I should stop my car now" would change to true when faced with a red streetlight.