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.