The bigotry, intolerance, and totalitarianism of the secularist Left

The vitriolic and mean-spirited response to the "thoughts and prayers" offered by concerned Christians and others in the wake of the San Bernardino tragedy is a tragedy in itself. We have not seen this level of narrow-mindedness since the darkest days of Dr. King's civil rights marches in the South and the ugly response of the Klan and other extremists of the Right.

It's not just that "thank you" is the polite and proper response even for an unbeliever to the good will and good wishes conveyed by a believer telling of their thoughts and prayers on their behalf. It's the only civilized and non-juvenile response.

But alas, the secularist Left is not civilized, for the most part, and is entirely too juvenile. And it seems these days that many on the Right are simply nuts. All the paranoia and hate is really disconcerting, coming as it does from all directions and from pretty much all available viewpoints. But I can remember when it was possible to be either a liberal or a conservative and still be a person of good will who, with Voltaire, disagreed with what others said while defending their right to say disagree with them in return.

Today, the Right and the Left alike think that somebody is Out To Get Them. Whether the conspirators are the Federal government or the NRA, paranoia is the hallmark of the hour. The Right wants to shoot those whom they don't like, or deport them; the Left wants to fine, imprison or simply intimidate them. Neither response is American. Neither approach is reasonable. Neither is civilized. Neither is compatible with our continued existence as a free people.

But one expects a certain amount of curmudgeonly grumpiness from the Right. One might even make the case that in filling that role, the Right serves an important and necessary function, helping to keep naive and unrealistic optimism at bay and helping us "be real," as we used to say back in the 'Sixties.

But we also need somebody to be the idealists, the dreamers, the hopers, the conveyors of relentless and even obnoxious niceness. The ugly hate and downright totalitarianism of the people who pride themselves on their supposed open-mindedness, tolerance, and good will these days is frightening.

Now that the "Progressives" have turned to the Dark Side, who is there left to play the role of liberals? When the Left turns to bigotry, who will argue for tolerance? When diversity means everybody thinking the same, carefully regimented thing, what room remains for real diversity?

When one is offended by being assured of the thoughts and prayers of others, how much of a soul can he or she have left?