How did the world lose its marbles?

Sep 3, 2019 by

by Douglas Murray, Mailonline:

A new dogma has turned beliefs that once seemed common sense into hate crimes. If you say the ‘wrong thing’, you’ll be thrown to the wolves…

We are going through a great mass derangement. In public and in private, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and unpleasant. The news is filled with the consequences. Yet while we see the symptoms everywhere, we don’t see the causes.

Various explanations have been given, usually involving Donald Trump, Brexit, or both. But these explanations don’t get to the root cause of what is happening. For beneath all the day-to-day madnesses – over race, sex, sexuality, gender and the rest – are much greater movements and much bigger events. Even the origin of this mass derangement is rarely acknowledged. This is the simple fact that we have been living through a period of more than a quarter of a century in which all our grand narratives about our existence have collapsed.

Religion went first, falling away from the 19th Century onwards. Then, over the past century, the secular hopes held out by all political ideologies followed. In the latter part of the 20th Century, we entered the post-modern era, defined by its suspicion towards grand narratives.

However, nature abhors a vacuum. People in today’s wealthy Western democracies could not simply remain the first people in recorded history to have no explanation for what we are doing here and no story to give life purpose.

The question of what exactly we are meant to do now – other than get rich and have fun – was going to have to be answered by something. The answer that has presented itself in recent years has been to live in a permanent state of outrage. To find meaning by waging constant war against anybody who seems to be on the wrong side of a question to which the answer has only just been altered.

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