Why gay marriage, getting high, and going to Cuba will soon be legal.
"I think this would be a good time for a beer," Franklin D. Roosevelt said upon signing a bill that made 3.2-percent lager legal again, some months ahead of the full repeal of Prohibition. Our forms of prohibition are more sins of omission than commission. Rather than trying to take away longstanding rights, they're instances of conservative laws failing to keep pace with a liberalizing society. But like Prohibition in the '20s, these restrictions have become indefensible as well as impractical, and as a result are fading fast. Within 10 years, it seems a reasonable guess that Americans will travel freely to Cuba, that all states will recognize gay unions, and that few will retain criminal penalties for marijuana use by individuals. Whether or not Democrats retain control of Congress, whether or not Obama is re-elected, and whether they happen sooner or later than expected, these reforms are inevitable-not because politics has changed but because society has.