We’re living in a slow-motion Roland Emmerich movie about nature’s wrath. At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox. Vietnamese farmers are migrating out of the Mekong Delta due to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Things are tough all over, and even the climate-change deniers understand deep down that extreme weather (which opens the door to economic hardship and occasional devastation) is becoming the norm.

I believe that the primal selfishness that has always fueled wealthy conservatives (us before them, occupy the high ground, defend our enclaves from angry multicultural hordes) is getting worse and worse. Righties might challenge or dismiss climate-change science in public, but deep down they’re acting as if a worldwide apocalypse is right around the corner. They seem to believe that social constraints are weakening and that a sense of chaotic desperation will gradually worsen among the have-not classes, and that the safest approach right now is to stockpile as much wealth as possible, enforce governmental regulations that weaken the middle and lower classes, reduce compassion and decency, build higher walls and hire more security consultants.