So here's the deal; I was reading the man page for xorg.conf when I decided to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to try some of the flags listed in the 'SERVERFLAGS' section. When I opened the file in vim, I found it to be empty (or nonexistent), so I added one line to the file. I believe it was
Option "DontZoom" "True"
I don't think think the syntax was correct because after rebooting x wouldn't load, giving me error messages about not being able to find a screen and
Option "DontZoom" "True" not being valid. (I'm sorry I can't give the exact error messages) I tried generating a new xorg.conf with the
X -configure command and replacing the old with the new, but that didn't work either.
What actually fixed the problem was removing xorg.conf entirely, so I'm wondering why just having a configuration file seems to prevent x from working.
I am running Linux Mint 17.3