Replacing the top row with the touch bar, in this analogy, is like someone else coming into your workshop and replacing several tools’ grips with big padded things that completely ruins the physical feedback you expect to feel, and never realized you used for fine control until you didn’t have it.
For me when I switched to a Mac, the hardest thing to get used to was the lack of a forward delete key (the Windows-style use of the delete key) and having to use a key combination instead. Even today I still struggle with the lack of pgup and pgdn keys, and the lack of home and end.
In light of commonly-used keys that are actually missing, I just struggle to accept the idea that the Esc key being a touch button but still existing is a hill worth dying on. Especially when, since the touch bar is customizable, everyone can now swap their (relatively) useless F1-F12 keys for the (relatively) more useful Home, End, Forward Delete, Page Up, and Page Down keys. Or whatever else they want it to be.
To me, it's like the digital equivalent to swapping a workshop's dedicated phillips-head screwdriver with one that lets you switch ends to be phillips or flathead or torx or whatever. Some small number of people may complain "but it's not the same way it's always been!", but it sure does make life a lot easier for a lot more people.
"It's not the same way it's always been" has been Apple's driving mission since... well basically forever. Think Different, right?