The Germ Theory of Democracy, Dictatorship, and All Your Most Cherished Beliefs

“Our moment-to-moment psychological reactions to the threat of illness, [some researchers] suggest, … may explain many of the basic differences we observe between cultures. How does your culture behave toward strangers? What kind of government do you live under? Who are your sexual partners? What values do you share? All of these questions may mask a more fundamental one: What germs are you warding off?”