The Underlying Reason for Our Present Chaos

3 min

Things always hit harder when they’re close to home.

Perhaps that’s why waking up to images of a burning Minneapolis is rather painful. Twitter shows images of blazing buildings and looted stores, while masked rioters and bystanders roam the streets. (Those COVID masks seem to have come in handy.)

I’ve driven and walked those streets. I know people who live in those neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it’s those innocent people who will be most hurt by the riots, looting, and the burning of their neighborhoods. I know it. They know it.

The injustice wrought on George Floyd was terrible and the offending officer should be prosecuted, given a fair trial, and punished if found guilty. But is this chaos really the best way to deal with tragedy?

Sadly, the riots in Minneapolis and Los Angeles are just the latest examples of unrest in America. Restless from being cooped up by COVID lockdowns, feeling the economic squeeze, and fearful of the virus, Americans seem ready to explode at the drop of a hat. Add in anger over our leadership’s behavior and media censorship and the perfect storm seems to have developed in America.

How did we reach this state? Was there a point where we took a wrong turn?

Author and historian Will Durant offers insight on that question in Volume I of The Story of Civilization:

Institutions which were at first in the hands of the clergy, like law and punishment, education and morals, marriage and divorce, tend to escape from ecclesiastical control, and become secular, perhaps profane. The intellectual classes abandon the ancient theology and—after some hesitation—the moral code allied with it; literature and philosophy become anticlerical.

In essence, when our society’s major institutions – such as marriage, education, and law – cut ties with their moral foundations, the results are problematic. Looking for other moorings, society becomes chaotic:

The movement of liberation rises to an exuberant worship of reason, and falls to a paralyzing disillusionment with every dogma and every idea. Conduct, deprived of its religious supports, deteriorates into epicurean chaos; and life itself, shorn of consoling faith, becomes a burden alike to conscious poverty and to weary wealth. In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together, like body and soul, in a harmonious death.

In recent weeks we’ve seen churches shuttered due to COVID-19 restrictions. Just last week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz allowed restaurants and bars to reopen for up to 50 patrons, calling them “integral to what makes Minnesota great,” while at the same time restricting religious services to no more than 10 people. While Walz eventually changed his tune, his initial decree provides a sad indictment of how little our society values religion and morality.

Given Durant’s words and their similarity to our present culture, are we on the verge of seeing our country’s downfall? If so, is it still possible for us to reverse the present sadness, injustice, and chaos by returning to the roots of morality and faith which are so vital to a joyful, thriving society?


[Image Credit: Twitter @maxnesterak]

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

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When government took over the fix of racism from the moral base within the churches in 1965 with a goverment plantation thinking the moral hazard was unleashed. Progressives have learned how to double down on it each 10 years thereafter. It is hard to keep up with the slippage. The "greatest generation" who won the war and saw so much carnage in the end wanted to juist get along. The double down has added up to the conflict we have now on so many fronts.


While Durant's observations describe civilizations in general such as the deterioration of the US, this does not address the rioting and looting. This is a phenomenon specific to depressed neighborhoods populated heavily by African-Americans. I agree with tdw below. This reaction is cultivated by black leaders who profit from racial tension and dems who want to stay in power in these areas. They want conflict. Their policies keep these areas depressed and inflamed. We do not see hispanics, whites, or other ethnic groups behaving this way. Neither do I believe this behavior is because of injustice. Looting is for purely personal gain. It is opportunistic stealing from people in your own neighborhood, people who have invested in the community to make it better and to give their families a better life. It also reinforces the worst stereotypes for the community. It also hides the real problem of black-on-black crime that makes these areas so dangerous.


Innocent until proven guilty, Verity.


leave it.


Can't blame black people for being pissed when they see videos like that. But the mother's milk of the Democratic Party is ginning up race and class hatred. "There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. I am afraid that there is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public. Booker T. Washington.