Bill, I agree with much of what you say, but let me begin by proudly stating that I'm an anachronism. I can be no other based on my experience in ham radio since 1965. I employ the "CW of old." My palms still get sweaty remembering the hours of practice to hit CW at 5 wpm, then 13 wpm and finally 25 wpm. As an old-timer who still uses his Vibroplex Lightning and enjoys a QSO that claims Ragchewer status, I know, an eternity by the standards of many in today's ham ranks, I am dismayed at the general direction of the hobby. Perhaps my concern is best illustrated by the questioning of an Extra Class operator in another forum. He was using a vertical and wanted to know if his rig would be OK to use with a dipole!
I think your prediction that the clutter in the digital bands is only going to get worse is exactly on target. I would encourage any kind of action to head off what I see as a looming disaster for the ham community. While I agree with you that action is necessary, I would take respectful issue with one of your suggestions ... "Maybe set aside a portion of the CW band solely for traditional CW operation, send by hand and copy by ear." I'd rework that and suggest that maybe we should set aside a portion of the band solely for digital operation, and then enforce it. I realize, of course, that with the dearth of preparation necessary for a ham license today, and the steady encroachment of information technology in our lives, that the noble communication mode of CW will not be able to withstand the onslaught of the "click it and forget it" modes. I take solace in knowing that I'm on this end of the hobby's history and have many enjoyable years of "getting to know you, getting to know all about you," but am saddened that so many will miss the sense of community that I've experienced within the ham community over the years.
My crystal ball sayd the future of ham radio will look something like this. Get up in the morning. Flip the switch and leave the house for the daily activities while allowing the computer to take over. At night, before going to bed, look at the QSO counter and proudly proclaim, "Look, I made 172 contacts today." Sadly, of those 172 contacts, you will not have learned to know even a little about anyone, but the computer counted flawlessly. So, file me away. As I said, I'm an anachronism, and my thoughts will most likely be problelmatic for some. Now, I have to get out of here because I only have 8 seconds until the next round of calls, and I wouldn't want to miss anything.