I think what I didn't make clear is the fact that we had separate groups that ran the non-root services. With hundreds of systems and a small group of us that had root access(restricted by IP and ssh key-based auth, heavily monitored and any exception was emailed from central syslog, among other things) if we were logging into a server, it was to do something that needed root access. We weren't logging in to troubleshoot apache as root. Well, sometimes, but we had everything scripted so we wouldn't start things up with the wrong UID.
We didn't even have sudo installed on the really old systems and any su would trigger alerts.
I guess my original point was, as root I was aware of the loaded gun I was carrying, but that was my job. It seems that many of the admins in this thread may be of the small shop variety that are wearing more than just the # hat. That is fine too, and if you do have to wear different hats, then sudo is probably a great thing.
And really, lighten up kids, you too will be old and bearded someday and will get a kick out of arguing the merits of old school vs. new school. Hell, when I started security was an after thought and if you wanted to harden a system, you were considered a security nazi.