I think it's disingenuous at best to say "Unity is by far the most widely used shell on Ubuntu, despite the depressed-hipster "can't live with unity" meme." when it is the default shell for Ubuntu. Most people don't change defaults, even if they are bad. See: Internet Explorer.
I also think it displays a complete lack of understanding of FOSS to say, "Well, I feel the same way about this as I do about McCarthyism. The people who rant about proprietary software are basically insecure about their own beliefs, and it's that fear that makes them so nastily critical. If your way of seeing the world IS genuinely more productive, effective, efficient, insightful and usable, then you should be confident that you will win in the long term, and folk who dabble in a different way of working will come to realize that you're right eventually."
Really, Mark? Here's where you're wrong: the ideology is one of control and user rights. If you're leading and you say, "this method is productive, effective, efficient, (insightful? What does it mean for a method of creating software to *itself* have insight?), and usable," but fails to recognize basic user rights, and your detractors say, "yes, but it fails to recognize basic user rights" then you're talking past them, and telling them their rights don't matter in the face of what..."progress?"
When you've got a method that puts users first, or at the very least doesn't bundle advertising spyware and beta-level UI as defaults, piggybacking on the success of what used to be the friendliest flavor of Linux, then talk about productive and efficient. Because until you're moving in the right direction, how fast and efficiently you're moving doesn't matter.