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Social pyschologist Jonathan Haidt offers insight into the culture wars. He sees the religious right’s willingness to believe the most preposterous accusations against Obama and health care reform as tied to the soul-less, materialism of the left:

The materialism of the secular left opens it up to charges that it promotes a “culture of death.” Liberals are said to like to kill fetuses and the elderly; they don’t treat anything as sacred. This term has been bandied about on the right for many years, and while it is a gross exaggeration, it is based in a real truth, a real difference on the question of the sacredness of life. So when Palin threw out the term “death panels,” the term struck a chord that had been played many times in recent years. Liberals were flabbergasted, because it’s a blatant lie, but it’s false only in a logical sense, not an emotional one. And once again, logic has little to do with morality. If a pro-life social conservative asks himself whether Obama is secretly plotting to create death panels, he is not asking whether this is likely to be true, he is asking only “can I believe it,” and the answer is usually yes.


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