Ah, you're in the Bay Area, +Roy Watts
. That is helpful to know. (What you're experiencing is more extreme there than it is in most of the US.) I think what you're getting at is also known as "political correctness" and I agree with you that it is often taken to an extreme, used as a weapon in the same way that religious intolerance is. And I agree with you that anything that stifles rational thought and discussion is harmful, whether it comes from the left or the right. Ironically, charges of "political correctness", used by those on the right, have become, in some places and in some circles, as damning a weapon as the political correctness itself -- a kind of meta political correctness
(as in, it is politically incorrect to come across as politically correct) that, just like the political correctness it purports to criticize, is used to stifle thought and discussion.