In this podcast for Cracked, Alex Schmidt and David Wong discuss how our fear of germs has shaped our politics, preferences, and personalities throughout history.
“Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a charismatic populist leader rises to power by warning of immigrants who are are ‘filthy’ and ‘bring disease.’ It’s no coincidence the greatest deplorable leaders through the ages use the same coded language to talk about people who are ‘other.’
It’s psychology. Quite understandably, it’s human nature to fear disease. It’s why rats are icky to us and I ceremonially burn my clothes after I go to Disneyland. But if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll see how diseases are are framed as exotic and foreign as an excuse to gang up on different nationalities: SARS, ban Chinese people; Ebola, ban everybody from Africa; sickness in general, build that wall.”