You could argue that the modern age began on 23rd August 1939 (a Wednesday), with the signing of the Non-Aggression Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
What made that day significant was a comment by a British diplomat. Told of the Pact, this diplomat suggested that, “All the isms are now wasms.” Or so history tells us, even though it didn’t get the guy’s name.
Right at that moment, with Fascism and Communism signing up to be friends after all, the two big isms of the day really did seem to be wasms.
But we know what happened next.
If the predominant characteristic of the modern age is the unintended consequence, that was the point at which it all began. We have isms in abundance. We defend a lot of fundamental rights by signing up for isms – feminism, sexism, ageism, Corbynism, and so on. But we also have militarism, terrorism and … everything's an ism.