One thing about California that I noticed more clearly on this trip (note that I am now characterizing what might be called the Bay Area Ethos, but emphatically not my old friends with whom I discussed these matters with civility and respect all around): there is a laid back, virtually libertarian, non-judgmental toleration -- no, celebration -- of just about any and all "life styles," of "diversity" in almost any form ... except for one: Republicans, who are obviously so noxious that the vaunted non-judgmentalism is regularly discarded in discussing them (usually from a distance). Republicans are not just wrong; they are evil or stupid, or both.
Back in the old days, when my friends and I were all lefties (or at least liberals of one sort or another) in good standing, people like us believed that racial discrimination was bad and colorblindness good; that what would later be called hate speech was (or should be) still protected speech; that (per the great Alexander Meiklejohn) political speech was at the core of First Amendment concerns; that presidents who committed perjury and used executive privilege as a shield to protect personal wrong-doing were not appealing; and even that military intervention to topple oppressive right-wing dictatorships might, in some circumstances, be worthwhile, especially if it lifted the veils off millions of women and put an end to mass executions (though many of us had problems with applying those same standards to left-wing dictatorships); and that, perhaps most of all, we believed we stood shoulder to shoulder with the poor, with workers, and with the struggling middle class against against rapacious corporations -- people surprisingly like the aggrieved homeowners in New London just victimized by a "liberal" Supreme Court opinion. (Even in those days, having grown up with guns, I believed the 2nd Amendment meant what it says, and even argued for an alliance between 1st and 2nd Amendment absolutists when I was at The Nation -- to no avail.)
Since we conservatives (if indeed that's what I am) who used to be lefties still believe all of those things while most contemporary liberals believe none of them, why are we the renegade turncoats?