The second part of the daily mull interview with Johnson N. Masters picks up where Friday's post left off:
TDM: Doesn't that require you to be something of a fortune-teller?
JNM: It would be impossible if I hadn't developed the Heuristic for Understanding Moral Patriotism.
TDM: And that is...
JNM: It's a tool for predicting the direction the collective conservative psyche is taking. I used the Northridge earthquake as a model.
TDM: The Northridge earthquake?
JNM: I was living in this very house. Did you know that we are sitting directly over the epicenter?
JNM: It was quite a ride. Talk about the earth moving.
TDM: And this led to the Heuristic for Understanding Moral Patriotism?
JNM: The next morning they kept announcing more and more accurate estimates about the location of the epicenter, and each one was closer to us. I remember thinking that if someone listened to those estimates, they could almost get directions to our house.
TDM: And that was where the idea for...
JNM: I realized that I could do the same sort of thing with the conservative movement: track the direction of conservative positions, and follow them to...
TDM: The epicenter.
TDM: And you've done this successfully?
JNM: Oh yes. The results are quite surprising. Almost shocking, in a way. But once you see the pattern it's unmistakable.
TDM: The pattern?
JNM: We bagan by tracking values. This wasn't difficult as far as the one percent go: the conservatives in the one percent are absolutely clear—one might say brutally clear—about what they value.
TDM: And that would be?
JNM: Wealth and power. The wealth part requires cheap labor. The power part requires lots of desperate people, who are easy to control. So it amounts to pretty much the same thing: a large populace, with enough unemployment to keep them poor and dependent.
TDM: And your other base?
JNM: The religious right were a lot harder to decipher. They claim to be motivated by their devotion to religion, and we wasted a lot of time on that before we realized we were on the wrong track.
JNM: We finally saw what had been staring us in the face. The Bible is full of admonitions against wealth, admonitions to love your enemy, admonitions against racial prejudice, and yet you couldn't get a decent conservative rally going on any one of those issues. On the other hand the Bible says almost nothing about a glimpse of a breast, or the use of four-letter words, or abortion, or gays, and yet those issues will mobilize the troops on a moment's notice.
TDM: And this told you?
JNM: It was our first decent estimate of the epicenter. What do all of those issues have in common?
TDM: They're against sex?
JNM: That's what we thought at first too. But it turned out to be something else.