Thursday, June 27, 2013

What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East?

What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East? By Aaron David Miller. Foreign Policy, June 25, 2013.


The Middle East really doesn’t need any more bad news.
Still, it’s official. The region now has its own disease: a dangerous virus called MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – perhaps related to the SARS virus, but apparently deadlier.
This sad news started me thinking (again) about the sad state of the region. There are some bright spots – or at least some spots that are not as dark. Tunisia seems to be making a relatively stable transition without paralytic violence and incompetent governance. And there’s a younger generation of Arabs and Muslims who seem bent on freeing themselves from the old ways, demanding not only personal freedom but dignity, too. I’m reminded of Howard Beale’s famous rant in Network: They’re mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.
Nevertheless, much of the region looks bad: violence in Iraq; civil war in Syria and violent spillover into Lebanon; growing popular despair in Egypt; repression in Bahrain; lack of central authority in Libya; and an impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Even in Turkey, the wonder state, things have become unhinged.
What’s going on here? Why, when much of the world seems to be moving forward, is the Middle East being left behind? And why has its big transformative moment – the Arab Awakening – seemingly been lost amid a jumble of violence, sectarianism, and incompetence? There may be many reasons for this sorry state of affairs. But here are my top five.
Mistreating Women
The status of women – what they can and cannot do – in theory and in practice varies widely in the region. But there’s far too much inequality and discrimination. Countries that systematically discriminate against half their population, intentionally or otherwise and for whatever reason (culture, religion, tradition, inertia) try to hold women back, keep them down, or just plain ignore them aren't going to be as moral, productive, creative, or competitive as those that empower women – whether in the Middle East or anywhere else. And their futures won't be nearly as bright. Period.
No Separation of Religion and State
I know it’s politically incorrect to point out, but show me one truly healthy and successful society run according to divinely mandated religious rules based on the idea that its god is better than any other – or where extremist religious groups intimidate and wage war against fellow citizens, sometimes using terror and violence. I thought Turkey might be an exception. But Prime Minister Erdogan’s recent my-way-or-the-highway behavior makes me wonder.
The societies that have proven the most durable and successful over time (all of which are outside the Arab world) are those where the realms of god and man/woman remain separate, where institutions are inclusive, and where freedom of religion, but perhaps even more important freedom of conscience, prevails. Indeed, freedom of expression is a critically important element in realizing human potential, inventiveness, and creativity. And it must be respected and safeguarded by the state, not restricted by it. Go into Times Square and, unless you’re threatening public order, you can say just about anything you’d like about Judaism, Christianity, or Islam without fear of arrest or worse. Don’t try that in Tahrir Square.
Too Much Conspiracy
Too many people in the Middle East refuse to look in the mirror. They’d rather come up with excuses and justifications as to why others, particularly forces outside their neighborhood, are responsible for their misfortunes. I know all about colonialism, Zionism, imperialism, communism, secularism, Islamism, and every other -ism that’s been marshaled to show why outsiders and not locals deserve the blame for what goes on in the Arab world.
But let’s get real. At some point, as every person knows, there’s an expiration date for blaming your parents for the way you turned out. And in the case of the Arab world, the warranty on coverage for blaming the Mossad, the CIA, America, the Jews, or Bozo the Clown for the absence of democracy, the lack of respect for human rights, and gender inequality has long expired.
To be sure, outsiders still influence the Middle East in very negative ways. But that’s no excuse for believing its people can’t shape their own destiny. After all, that is what the Arab Awakening was supposed to be about. And wouldn’t you know it: the Arab Awakening got hijacked not by Western bogeymen, but by forces within Arab society itself, including Muslim fundamentalists, secular and liberal elements that couldn’t organize effectively, and remnants of the old regimes who hung on to power after the dictators were gone.
I know it comes as a shocker, but the Middle East really isn’t the center of the world any more. Today, Asia, Europe, America, and even Africa are where free market economies, pluralism, and human enterprise are innovating, inventing, producing, and creating stuff – leaving the Middle East in the rear-view mirror. Read any of the U.N. Human Development Reports, which chronicle the sad tale. But too many Middle Easterners still think they're at the epicenter of it all – or somehow deserve to be.
Many Arabs and too many Israelis still believe that the world sits on the edge of its collective seat 24/7 wondering what's going to happen next in their region and devising new ways to rescue them. I’m really tired of Israeli peaceniks hammering the United States for not rescuing the peace process and of Arabs waiting for us to punish Israel, which too many ridiculously dismiss as either America’s master or its unruly child. Meanwhile, talk to any Lebanese and you’d think what happens in Beirut is on the minds of U.S. policymakers from morning till night. And, despite America’s loss and lack of credibility, there’s still this misplaced hope that the United States will save Syria.
Here’s a news flash: the cavalry isn’t coming. Maybe if this sinks in, the locals will do more for themselves. But I doubt it.
There really isn’t any. It’s ironic – particularly against the backdrop of the Arab Awakening’s democratic impulses – that the most durable leaders have turned out to be the authoritarian monarchs. The King Abdullahs (Jordan and Saudi Arabia) look like statesmen compared to Egypt’s Mohamed Morsy or Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki.
But even here there’s a problem. Middle Eastern leaders have become masters at acquiring power, but they're not all that interested in sharing it. Marry that to the absence of legitimate and inclusive institutions – and to politicians more interested in furthering the interests of their tribe, family, or religious sect than the nation as a whole – and the future of good, accountable governance in the Arab world doesn’t look all that bright.
MERS is still a mystery. But I'm pretty confident the epidemiologists will eventually figure it out. And I know we must give this region a couple more generations to sort things out. Still, I'm not nearly as confident they will, even though what ails this region is an open, if inconvenient, truth.

Hate, Not Time, Is the Enemy of Peace. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Hate, Not Time, Is the Enemy of Peace. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, June 26, 2013.

Why Won’t the Palestinians Accept a State? By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, June 27, 2013.

Time Is Enemy in Mideast Peace Push, Kerry Says. By Michael R. Gordon and Jodi Rudoren. New York Times, June 26, 2013.

Abbas libels Israel: “[Israel’s] evil and dangerous plot to destroy Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and build the alleged Temple.” By Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik. Palestine Media Watch, June 26, 2013.

Israel Faces a Culture of Hatred and Violence. By Mortimer B. Zuckerman. U.S. News and World Report, March 21, 2011.

Tobin (Hate, Not Time):

Secretary of State John Kerry is playing with fire. Having embarked on a high-profile effort to revive the moribund Middle East peace process, Kerry has acted as if there is no downside to ratcheting up pressure on the parties with little apparent chance of actually achieving progress. Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas is eager to avoid blame for Kerry’s inevitable failure but rather than picking up on the mixed signals coming from Ramallah, the secretary continued with this line of argument today in a news conference in which he sought to create a deadline for starting talks:
“Long before September we need to be showing some kind of progress in some way because I don’t think we have the luxury of that kind of time,” he said in a joint news conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart.
“Time is the enemy of a peace process,” Mr. Kerry said. “The passage of time allows a vacuum to be filled by people who don’t want things to happen.”
That sounds wise, but the mention of September—a reference to the meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations where the Palestinians are likely to make mischief—is ominous. As much as Kerry likes to think he is the consummate diplomat who is orchestrating a momentous move toward peace, with his decision to try to rush the parties into a negotiation with no evidence of common ground or an opening for an agreement what he is actually doing is setting the region up for a blowup that could have been avoided. Instead of listening to the parties and seeing that the Palestinians are not ready to make the sort of sacrifices needed for peace, Kerry is blundering along, blind to the fact that the real enemy of peace is the hate that fuels the conflict, not an artificial deadline.
The entire premise of Kerry’s initiative is the notion that rushing to peace is necessary since the status quo is untenable and likely to lead to trouble. But what he fails to see is that as unpalatable as the present situation might be for both sides, it is infinitely preferable to one where the Palestinians think they can gain from outrageous behavior or violence. Since Abbas can’t even bring himself to talk without preconditions that would require Israel to accede to all of his demands in advance of negotiations, even if Kerry can drag him to the table, everyone on both sides knows there’s little chance he will stay there. A failure to negotiate is bad enough, as we have seen for the last four and a half years since Abbas last fled talks with Israel in order to avoid giving an answer to an Israeli peace offer. But negotiations that are doomed to failure are even worse. That’s something American diplomats should remember from the last time they tried to muscle Israel and the Palestinians into an agreement at Camp David in the summer of 2000. That led to the second intifada and over a thousand slaughtered Jews and even more dead Palestinians.
Kerry thinks by ignoring Abbas’s prevarications he can somehow get both parties to yes. But he would do better to pay attention to what Abbas is saying to his own people and fellow Arabs rather than the contradictory statements about talks coming from Ramallah aimed at Western audiences.
As Palestine Media Watch reports, Abbas continues to spread libels about Israel and Jews in the Arab media. He recently said the following to the Saudi paper Al Watan earlier this month:
All these [Israeli] actions indicate an evil and dangerous plot to destroy Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and build the alleged Temple. Unfortunately, these dangers, which are clear for everyone to see, have yet to receive proper Arab, Islamic and international responses.”
Abbas’s reference to the “alleged” Temple is of piece with the PA campaign that has long alleged that Jews have no historical connection to Jerusalem. As PMW recalls:
In a speech at the Arab Summit in 2010, Abbas told Arab leaders that taking Jerusalem away from Israel is a religious Islamic obligation of the highest level, a “fard ayn” – a personal Islamic commandment incumbent on every Muslim:
Abbas: “I say to the leaders of our Arab nation and to its peoples: Jerusalem and its environs are a trust that Allah entrusted to us. Saving it [Jerusalem] from the settlement monster and the danger of Judaization and confiscation is a personal [Islamic] commandment [Arabic: fard ayn] incumbent on all of us. Therefore, I call all of you to serious and urgent action to save [Jerusalem] and to make available all possibilities in order to strengthen our resolve and to maintain its historical, cultural and religious character.”
It is these attitudes that are the obstacle to peace, not settlements or Israeli skepticism about peace or even time. The artificial deadline Kerry is setting won’t create an accord so long as Abbas continues to believe that any acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy will be seen as a betrayal of Palestinian nationalism. What the region needs is actually more time for the Palestinians to come to grips with the need to alter this culture of hate, not a rush to talks with no solution in sight.


The End of the American Dream? By Niall Ferguson.

The End of the American Dream? By Niall Ferguson. Newsweek. The Daily Beast, June 26, 2013.

Obama’s War on Prosperity. By William Tucker.

Obama’s War on Prosperity. By William Tucker. The American Spectator, June 27, 2013.


So what is going on here? Why is President Obama so utterly unconcerned about economics, so blasé about unemployment, so absorbed with tales about the coming environment apocalypse? Well, here’s my analysis.

President Obama has managed to win election by assembling two major constituencies: 1) a lumpen proletariat that has no idea how the economy works, is dependent on the government, and votes for him because he promises more handouts; and 2) an upper-crust constituency that thinks “we already have enough,” isn’t interested in any further economic development, and believes, if anything, that we already have too much of material possessions and it’s time to start cutting back on things. This has been the theme of environmentalism for 40 years. The rationale changes — we’re undergoing a “population bomb,” we’re drowning in pollution, we’re running out of oil and other resources — but the message is always the same. We’ve got enough. Time to call off all this progress. Let’s go back to spinning our own yarn, growing our own vegetables, and putting up windmills.

Together these two groups form a perfect vice to smother the ambitions of people who are interested in furthering the advance of progress and technology — the ones you might call “average Americans.”

All this was perfectly illustrated two weeks ago when filmmaker Robert Stone, who has just released the pro-nuclear documentary Pandora’s Promise, took on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., that perfect embodiment of the environmental ethos. (Nuclear energy, by the way, the only technology that could possibly forestall global warming, received barely a passing mention in Obama’s speech. His main contributions have been to appoint a chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who is opposed to nuclear power and try to shut down the fuel reprocessing plant in South Carolina.)

A scion of wealth who lives in a retreat in the Hudson River Highlands, Robert Kennedy plays the upper-crust aristocrat who has turned against technology, just as Veblen outlined in The Theory of the Leisure Class. He wants to close Indian Point, he’s against fracking, he objects to natural gas pipelines, he opposed offshore windmills both off Cape Cod and in Long Island Sound, he’s opposed to genetically modified food, he’s even crusading against vaccines these days. But he has invested his money in a couple of huge, useless solar plants in the California desert.

So when Kennedy kicked off the Pandora debate by calling the film “an elaborate hoax” and accusing Stone of being on the payroll of the nuclear industry, Andrew Revkin, the New York Times environmental blogger who moderated the debate, threw him a challenge. “You’re invested in solar energy,” he said. “Doesn’t that mean you have your own interests? Why should we believe you?”

Kennedy pulled up short. You could almost see the wheels turning in his head. “Don’t you know who I am?” he seemed to exude. “I’m a Kennedy! We Kennedys don’t invest to make money. We already have money.” His investment, he finally explained, was for the good of mankind.

Environmentalism is the philosophy of an aristocracy. It works perfectly for people who already have what they want and aren’t terribly concerned with getting more. Much more important is that lots of other people don’t get what they already have. That would mean crowding into their restrictively zoned neighborhoods, discovering their vacation hideaways, and generally engulfing them in the common herd.

And of course all this plays extremely well in the faculty lounges across America, where tenure keeps things comfortable, where aristocratic mannerisms are forever in fashion, and where Obama imbibed most of his knowledge of the world before becoming President.

Citi Simplicity® Commercial: Erica vs. The Rough Day.

Citi Simplicity®: Erica vs. The Rough Day. Video. CITI, May 15, 2013. YouTube. Also here.

“Erica” is portrayed by 29-year old Puerto Rican actress and model Melissa Marty, who won Univision’s Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty) reality show contest in 2008. Marty has been promoted by Glaudi fashion as “the modern Latina of today.”

“Erica” in the Citibank commercial shows the take charge Jacksonian side of Melissa Marty.

The Bane of Palestinian Infighting. By Kimberly Marten.

The Bane of Palestinian Infighting. By Kimberly Marten. New York Times, June 26, 2013.

Super-Scientific Chinese Study Says Bloggers Are Losers. By Adam Minter.

Super-Scientific Chinese Study Says Bloggers Are Losers. By Adam Minter. Bloomberg, June 27, 2013.

Michael Eric Dyson: Clarence Thomas Is a “Symbolic Jew Who Sided With Hitler” to “Commit Genocide.”

MSNBC’s Michael Eric Dyson On Clarence Thomas: “Symbolic Jew Who Sided With Hitler” To “Commit Genocide.” By Andrew Kirell. Mediaite, June 27, 2013. YouTube.

MSNBC’s Dyson on Thomas: “Symbolic Jew Invited Metaphoric Hitler to Commit Holocaust Upon His Own People.” By Noel Sheppard. NewsBusters, June 25, 2013.

Full segment with Michael Eric Dyson from Martin Bashir show. Video. MSNBC, June 25, 2013.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Is Hamas Losing Power? By Khaled Abu Toameh.

Is Hamas Losing Power? By Khaled Abu Toameh. Real Clear World, June 27, 2013. Also at Gatestone Institute.

Abu Toameh:

Hamas’s failure to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has also driven away an increased number of Palestinians – in addition to reports about fierce internal squabbling among Hamas’s top brass and the absence of a unified policy toward many controversial issues plaguing the Palestinians and the Arab world.

In a move reflecting Hamas’s growing predicament, the movement was forced this week to welcome Palestinian singer Mohamed Assaf, who won the popular Arab Idol contest held by Saudi Arabia’s MBC TV station.

Although Hamas leaders have condemned the contest as “anti-Islamic” and “morally corrupt,” they were forced to voice their support for the 23-year-old Assaf in the wake of the overwhelming and unprecedented support he received from Palestinians.

When Hamas leaders begin to “sweat,” it should be seen as a positive development in the Palestinian arena. It now remains to be seen whether Palestinians will take advantage of the situation and turn against Hamas.

Hamas Summer Camp.

Hamas Summer Camp. Photo gallery. Real Clear World, June 20, 2013.

Nakba Day Protests. Photo gallery. Real Clear World, May 15, 2013.

The Future of Religious Liberty. By Ben Domenech.

The Future of Religious Liberty. By Ben Domenech. Real Clear Religion, June 26, 2013.

Religious Liberty and the Gay Marriage Endgame. By Ross Douthat. New York Times, June 26, 2013.

Frightening the Horses. By Rod Dreher. The American Conservative, June 26, 2013.

Scalia’s Blistering Dissent on DOMA. By Tim Grieve. The Atlantic, June 26, 2013.

The Left’s Assault on Religion. By Rush Limbaugh., June 28, 2013.

Three Spiritual Journeys of Millennials. Barna Group, May 9, 2013.

The City. Summer 2013.

What is Marriage? By Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and Ryan T. Anderson. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Winter 2011).


This week should bring two significant Supreme Court decisions on the matter of same sex marriage, in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry (the California Proposition 8 case) and the United States v. Windsor (the DOMA issue). It would be a shame for the Court to hand down any sweeping ruling on the issues involved. Just like it did in Roe and Doe, the Court could stop the conversation, halting the ability of voices to be heard and for this to play out in a representative political sphere.

Representative politics ought to represent, and the people and their representatives should decide what marriage is, and whether they wish to change their minds on it, not the Court.

The Summer 2013 issue of The City, which mails this week, is full of smart writing on the issue of marriage and religious liberty. In editing the issue, I read a great deal of the work from Robbie George, Ryan T. Anderson, and others who have been making essentially the natural law argument in defense of the traditional definition of marriage. The core of their argument is here. Upon closer inspection, I think they have really been arguing against the rise of something which has a much larger impact than just a small number of homosexuals getting married – they have instead been arguing against the modern concept of sexual identity. And this is a much tougher task, considering how ingrained this concept has become in our lives.

During the sexual revolution, we crossed a line from sex being something you do to defining who you are. When it enters into that territory, we move beyond the possibility of having a society in which sex acts were tolerated, in the Mrs. Patrick Campbell sense – “I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses” – and one where it is insufficient to be anything but a cheerleader for sexual persuasion of all manner and type, because to be any less so is to hate the person themselves. Sex stopped being an aspect of a person, and became their lodestar – in much the same way religion is for others. As Walker Percy wrote, “Pascal told only half the story. He said man was a thinking reed. What man is, is a thinking reed and a walking genital.”

The problem with gay marriage is not about gay people getting married – they’ve already been doing that, or living that way. The problem with gay marriage is not that it will redefine marriage into a less valuable social institution in the eyes of the populace – that is already happening, has been for decades, and will continue regardless of whether gays are added to it or not. And the problem with gay marriage is not about the slippery slope of what comes next – though yes, the legal battle over polyamory and polygamy is inevitably coming, as the principle of marriage equality demands it does (these relationships already exist below the radar, albeit with more poly than amory involved – of the 500 gay couples followed in the respected San Francisco study, about half of the partners have sex with someone else with their partner knowing).

No, the real problem with gay marriage is that the nature of the marriage union is inherently entwined in the future of the first line of the Bill of Rights: our right to religious liberty. Orthodox believers of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths were slow to understand this. I’m talking about something much bigger here than the discrimination lawsuits brought across the country against bakers and photographers: I’m talking about whether churches will be able to function as public entities in an era where their views on sin, particularly sexual sin, are in direct conflict with not just opinion but the law – and proselytizing those views from the pulpit or in the public square will be viewed as using the protection of religious expression to protect hateful speech.

We saw this problem already in Illinois’s marriage law, where churches which do not allow same sex unions would essentially have to close their doors to full participation in civil society. We see it as a constant issue regarding Canada's hate speech laws, where courts must discern whether quoting Bible verses amounts to “harming the public discourse.” We will see it more here. That obvious oncoming clash strikes me as the most troublesome aspect of this, and the one that has received the least attention in the rush to legalize. The argument has been more about benefits and social outcomes and “won’t somebody think of the children,” ignoring the core problem, which raises challenges to the freedom of speech and expression the likes of which led to the pilgrims crossing the sea in the first place.

The conflict between sexual liberty and religious liberty is unlikely to be one the religious will win, in large part because of the broad and increasing acceptance of an idea President Obama has espoused more than once in public: that the religious have a freedom to worship, and that’s where it ends. When you leave the pew, you must leave your faith there. Among the religious, this is absurd – their entire lives are defined by their faith, in ways large and small. For both Christianity and Islam, the core of their faith is built on a call to take the message to the world, spreading it through public witness and preaching. Yet this belief in the limited freedom to worship is what led Obama’s administration to argue that faith-based hiring and firing is a discriminatory act for religious entities. It will lead to similar cases in the years to come regarding the marriage issue, but not just focused in that space – expect it to factor in divorce proceedings, custody battles, and more points involving the nice folks from Child Protective Services. Expect it also to factor in dramatically expanding the scope of these discrimination lawsuits – think on the doctor in California who was brought up on discrimination charges for referring a lesbian couple to a colleague for artificial insemination.

In a litigious society, those conscience conflicts will multiply, with pressure on anyone who “refuses and refers” to be stripped of their government-provided license or memberships in professional society. This will occur in part because the gay and lesbian population is distinctly different in comparison to the rest of the public when it comes to religion. Half of the LGBT population is atheist, agnostic, or religiously unaffiliated – and this makes them far less likely to respect the religious defenses of those they view as preaching and practicing bigotry, and recruiting people to join their bigoted club.

Without religious liberty, there really is no such thing as free speech. When government can pick and choose which form of expression is religiously defensible and which is unjustified hate, it fundamentally alters the relationship between state and citizen. If a different path toward gay marriage had been followed – the compromise of a simple civil union approach to ensure access to rights and benefits – it’s possible this clash could've been avoided. A federalist solution to marriage could’ve slowed the approach to the issue to a point where the concerns of the faithful could achieve proper protection. But those for whom sexual identity is paramount have insisted on redefining institutions, through a series of repeated flashpoints – from the Boy Scouts to the Catholic hospitals and adoption centers – disregarding any of the outcomes. The calculation is simple: ensuring the supremacy of their worldview is the goal, and those who disrespect it (for religious reasons or not) deserve to be shunned, regardless of the fallout for civil society. And there will be fallout.

So the real issue here is not about gay marriage at all, but the sexual revolution’s consequences, witnessed in the shift toward prioritization of sexual identity, and the concurrent rise of the nones and the decline of the traditional family. The real reason Obama’s freedom to worship limitation can take hold is that we are now a country where the average person prioritizes sex far more than religion. One of the underestimated aspects of the one out of five Americans (and one out of three Millennials) who are now thoroughly religiously unaffiliated is that, according to Barna’s research, they aren’t actually seekers. They’re not looking or thinking about being part of a community focused on spirituality, in prayer, fellowship, worship, or anything else. Their exposure to faith is diminished because they want it to be.

In a nation where fewer people truly practice religion, fewer people external to those communities will see any practical reason to protect the liberty of those who do. The world could in time come full circle to Mrs. Campbell’s old line: You are free to believe, as long as you don’t do it in the streets, so as not to frighten the horses.


Unless something dramatic changes in the drift of public opinion, the future of religious liberty on these issues is going to depend in part on the magnanimity of gay marriage supporters — the extent to which they are content with political, legal and cultural victories that leave the traditional view of marriage as a minority perspective with some modest purchase in civil society, versus the extent to which they decide to use every possible lever to make traditionalism as radioactive in the America of 2025 as white supremacism or anti-Semitism are today. And I can imagine a scenario in which a more drawn-out and federalist march to “marriage equality in 50 states,” with a large number of (mostly southern) states hewing to the older definition for much longer than the five years that gay marriage advocates currently anticipate, ends up encouraging a more scorched-earth approach to this battle, with less tolerance for the shrinking population of holdouts, and a more punitive, “they’re getting what they deserve” attitude toward traditionalist religious bodies in particular. If religious conservatives are, in effect, negotiating the terms of their surrender, it’s at least possible that those negotiations would go better if they were conducted right now, in the wake of a Roe v. Wade-style Supreme Court ruling, rather than in a future where the bloc of Americans opposed to gay marriage has shrunk from the current 44 percent to 30 percent or 25 percent, and the incentives for liberals to be magnanimous in victory have shrunk apace as well.