There is genuine value in a well-run change management program. Organizations need to know what is going on in their infrastructure, and plan things properly. In many industries there is a growing regulatory requirement to have change management, and auditors are looking for these things more often too. Many smaller shops are bringing in change control, so rather than handing in your badge my advice would be to deal with it and learn the lessons.
One lesson is rather than fight it, use it to your advantage. Yes, there's paperwork, however if you follow the system correctly they cannot blame you if things go wrong. What you thought of as freedom was also a risk to your own position as you had sole responsibility - change control means less freedom, but you are covered. Also, you can get budget for better management systems which will make your life easier. Put together a realistic list of what you need and get involved with setting up the change control process. If you stay silent or fight it you won't get a say.