It is interesting, I think, that of the 20-odd people who were arrested in connection with the terrorist plot earlier this month, 3 were converts to Islam. Islam is becoming the default choice for angry young men, I guess.

When I was young 10–15 years ago, disaffected young men with a grudge against “the imperialist society” were drawn to communism / Marxism / Leninism etc. Now that communism has been solidly discredited as a way of running society, they had to find themselves a new pet ideology, and Islam was conveniently available.

There is something in angry young men that pulls them towards the “anti-establishment” movement du jour, one that offers a neat one-size-fits-all solution to the world’s problems, preferably with a strong authoritarian streak.

Some grow out of it, others don’t. And for those who don’t, it will be just like faddish clothes: a sign that can be used to tell when they stopped growing. If a man is (seriously) wearing long hair and brown flare cords, he is stuck in the 70s. If he preaches communism, he stopped paying attention to the world in the 80s. And if someone is still preaching Islamic fundamentalism 20 years from now, he’s stuck in the 00s.