You are entitled to your opinions.
My thiefware.com site is a resource unlike other sites that are commercial in nature. If I happen to find useful tidbits about thiefware, I link to them when I have the time to add links. In that respect, that site is all about providing a resource and links added don't really have anything to do with PR though I do accept sites wanting to link for commercial reasons to raise PR (but that's not the focus of thiefware.com).
However, when it comes to a site where I intend on making money through commissions (an affiliate site), I will trade links to boost PR. The sites I trade links with are many times direct competitors and I insist on a link back as it should be. If I link to them they had better link back or their link is removed.
I have no other reason to link to them otherwise--why would I??? Because it helps in PR. But I also don't necessarily want people to actually go into that directory and click on competitor links which ultimately can lead to lost commissions. It's a trade-off at the moment that I'm willing to make. Whether you want to admit it or not, getting higher PR does have an influence on rank. If my site ranks higher, my site has a better chance of getting more commissions—it's that simple.
I'm gonna do what helps me to make the most commissions and boosting PR is gonna help towards that for now. I'm not in it to send traffic away like you are, but am into it to gain positions for relevant keywords that my visitors are looking under in the engines to help them find my site. I'd rather have 50 reciprocals for my affiliate site that get me a number of 1-10 rank in the engines—that's gonna make sales and commissions.
Adding links for the sake of adding links and gaining nothing in rank won't help my site to refer customers if my rank is 65. Nobody will see my site in the engines with that strategy—that's just a stupid strategy for me. I have a very real reason for linking—just not the same reason as you do. That doesn't make my reason any less legitimate than yours (which you seem to want to imply, but I think you are wrong in this instance IMO). You have your reasons for whatever you are doing and that's OK. I do too.
For you to say that my reasons are not legit, you are misleading other people into believing in your ways and that does not help other people who want to learn how to raise their ranks. Your ways have merits and my ways do too. To say otherwise is to fool people.
I have to insist on reciprocals because in my case it makes sense.