No irritation here. You make all good points Gus. All good. And no need for sucking; you’ve seen and done a thousand things I’ve never done. And lived to tell the tale, which speaks volumes about your skill, luck, and brass 'nads. Believe me when I say I respect that; I respect it a lot.
As you say, it all comes down to “How safe is safe enough and for how many dollars?”
The fact that hobbyist GA is dying on the vine is, IMO, a combination of prices going almost straight up, middle class disposable income sliding down, and everyone’s expectations of safety and sophistication going up as well.
What was plenty good enough in 1965 or 1975 isn’t viewed the same nowadays. Even if neither the sky nor the typical factory GA aircraft has changed a bit in that 40-50 years.
It’s a real pity the FAA & the manufacturers and the lawyers and the public have painted themselves into that corner. I have no clue how we’re going to get back out. Which is IMO pretty much necessary if we’re to still have an air travel industry in 40 years when the current crop of pilots dies off.
On a happier note I had lunch today under about 1 mile final of a local GA airport. Lots of bizjets, but then an RV-4 came by with half flaps and 15 degrees of crab into the tropical crosswind. Looked & sounded good.