I've only played golf by the rules for a little over two years, I know the rules pretty well, refer to the rules when I'm not sure and appreciate the importance of playing by the rules. I've read the entire thread and what I see is;
One side arguing for changes to rules to speed up pace of play and make the game simpler to follow the rules for the average non-pro golfer who doesn't have a rules official to consult with on every hole.
The other side arguing that the rules were written as they were with a purpose and alteration of those rules would significantly impact the game as we know it today.
I believe both sides are right, the rules are what we must play by, but what sense is having a big book of rules if only 15% of the people playing the sport actually follow all of the rules because some are just not feasible to follow on the average muni / public course.
Rules in all sports change over time to reflect changes in the people playing the sport, technology, etc. When the USGA and R&A wrote the rules, pace of play may not have been a major concern. They might have believed 50 years ago that it was perfectly acceptable to have someone go back to a tee box to hit another ball, but it's not today. Maybe 5 hour rounds of golf were acceptable in 1970, but you see just on this site people complaining if a round takes more than four hours and most would prefer if it was closer to 3 hours.
The R&A / USGA have to evolve the rules not for the pro's but for the average guys that would like to play by the rules but are unable to because everyone is up in arms about pace of play. As for the ESC argument, no one ever wants to use ESC when they're out there playing, that's not why we're out there.