[I am digressing from my series on Narcissism, Disintegration, Suicidality & the Fall of the West (Introduction, Part I) although this post can be considered a more specific example of the phenonena I am describing in those posts; Part II is in preparation and will be posted on Monday.]
With the French Intifada slowly returning to the status quo ante, with "only" ~100 cars being torched every night, (HT: Atlas Shrugs) the question of root causes, the relative impact of Islam, poverty, and racism is worth a second look.
There are those, primarily in the Blogosphere, who have been insistent that radical Islam is at the core of the recent unrest, while others, including most of the LSM (LameStreamMedia) and the French government, insists the riots have nothing at all to do with Islam, but rather are related to poverty and discrimination. The distinction is important in terms of the immediate government response to the crisis, but in the longer term, it represents a distinction without a difference. In other words, the intersection of the future psychological development of the youthful rioters will increasingly force the crisis toward a clash of Islam with liberal, secular democracy; an understanding of the psychological developmental steps from late adolescence to early adult hood will dictate the long term outcome and the signs are inauspicious.
The most important of the several developmental steps that are required to move from late adolescence into early adulthood is the surrender of the adolescent fantasy of omnipotentiality (the idea that all future outcomes are available), which requires the acceptance of realistic limitations that are in concordance with one's abilities, and the establishment and consolidation of a stable identity. A stable adult identity includes such things as one's sexual orientation, the desire or lack of desire for marriage and children, one's occupational interests, ethnic identifications, and religious orientation. In all these areas, the young residents of the banlieus of France are being channeled toward radical Islam.