Political scientist Dr David Runciman looks at why is there often such deep opposition to reforms that appear to be of obvious benefit to voters.
Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.
What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.
Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.
But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of health-care reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.