It's too bad there isn't a link available because before I comment I'd like to read the article in question. But I'll comment anyway, from what I'm taking away from your comments.
I am an ACA L4 coastal instructor and an ACA L4 WW instructor. This is relevant insofar as the idea of technique being urged by instructors. All instructors urge the development of good technique. Good technique is about protecting the body and about repeatability (muscle memory). I teach a lot of beginner classes and I ask people what their aspirations are in the beginning of every class and most just want to paddle around on the flat water. They don't want to drown doing so and want to be able to get where they're going without feeling like they've been run over by the proverbial Mack truck from paddling all day, or days, with their shoulders. I also place a lot of emphasis on basic rescue and the idea that the paddlefloat should be considered the self rescue of LAST resort.
Regarding WW technique; a great deal of modern sea kayak technique comes from WW and river boating. This includes strokes and rolling. I would argue, and have at length, that the idea of "fundamental" has evolved. As is the way it is taught. In Greenland the first thing a boy is taught, before he can paddle around, is the sculling brace followed by rolling as swimming simply isn't an option. We approach it differently. We teach how to get your boat around and then gloss over how to deal with the aftermath of a capsize. To not engage in the horse before the cart argument that is also found here, I submit that there are no hard and fast ways for teaching or doing and that my "adventure" may be way below the bar for some and way above the bar for others.
I'm all for seamanship. I work hard and read a lot and practice all of the time (muscle memory for the brain). When I run trips I encourage people to follow along on their charts and to observe where they are and what's going on around them rather than just blithely paddle along. If they find that interests the and ask questions about how to calculate the best time for crossings etc, I answer and make recommendations of what to read or classes to take (generally I offer these through the club I volunteer for). I also tell people that ANY map works for navigation. Topo's, charts, a road map that adequately shows that coast (ala Chris Duff and Ireland) can work. I can't compel good seamanship. The external compulsion for seamanship is subtle, until it's too late. I can encourage it but, until a new paddler is interested they won't bother. I imagine that troubles John, but there it is.
To wrap up, I also think there is an age issue. I'm 39 and I live in one of the sea kayaking hotspots, the PNW. I'm not anywhere near the top end of the age scale of sea boaters, in fact I'd say I'm towards the bottom. I can attribute this to many things, but that's a different discussion. Given the age that many people move into sea boating without other marine experience, they can't see past just floating around. That is their adventure. If that is what John has his knickers in a knot about then that's too bad because he's one of the ones that encouraged many of these people to get out in in the first place as many have his book.