I think you're underrating him. RMS created the whole GNU philosophy, which has inspired thousands of developers---that is his main contribution. Go and read some interviews where Torvalds himself sings the praises of the GPL v2 and its role in the success of Linux.
I myself and many of you use emacs and gcc every day---I do think there's a special credit to be given to the creator of such projects that underlie the whole Linux ecosystem, even if the projects were forked away from him.
Despite being an disheveled person with questionable personal philosophies, RMS deserves credit for having created the notion of software that has a life of its own and cannot be squashed or secreted away by financially driven interests. He is like the NRA---just as the NRA resists any attempt at squashing personal gun ownership (if they came up with handheld thermonuclear weapons, I believe the NRA would staunchly oppose any attempt at regulating them), in the same way, RMS takes an extreme position, because he knows that everyone else will adjust for that and the net result will be something more geared towards the GNU philosophy than if he didn't.
Your ad-hominem attacks disparaging RMS's lowly status and John-the-baptist-like lifestyle are telling---perhaps you yourself failed at making money of GPL software that was meant to benefit everyone? I agree that it is difficult or impossible to make money of this type of software; only a select few can do it. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't exist, because it has the potential to empower the billions of financially oppressed poor in this world.