KiruvWife, I mostly agree with you. Where we view things a little differently is in the inyan when someone is machmir l’Shem Shamayim, and THEN proceeds to view anyone who does NOT follow that chumrah as being less frum. And don’t say that this is not so. it happens all the time.
If there were chumrahs that were “modified” by the people because times were hard in Europe, as Itzik implies is the reason for same, then they were not chumrahs, they were the actual halacha that people were not following. Halacha msut be followed, but when mamesh chumrahs are being accepted as the “new” halacha and people are made to feel their frumkeit is lacking for not taking on those chumrahs, it creates tremendous divisiveness in the frum community, something which we cannot afford to have.