In each case, you are relaxing some control of your company in exchange for something else valuable: other people's money. Whether such exchange is fair or not depends on specific circumstances; each side can always ask for more (money, control) to make the exchange fair.
I don't know of any company of any significant size (e.g. with >$100M of annual revenue) that hasn't made such an exchange at some point in its history.
Edit: From another story on the home page right now - Red Bull $5B in sales
I would bet that most of these companies were created decades ago and that most of the recent "success stories" took public money at some point - anybody knows any examples?
The public stock market is a real-time debate about valuation in the open. The VCs do it behind closed doors. Being critical of the markets for being divorced from reality is fine, but surely having a public stock price is better than having it all hidden from view?
If you're not a fan of more openness, maybe you are hoping to 'pick off' a VC who over-values your company, away from a public analysis of its actual worth?
As for having a public listing forcing a company to do anything - it's not true at all (except for publishing audited accounts). The company is free to ignore the gyrations of the market, and keep its plans secret too.
Is, was, and will be privately held for the forseeable future.
Also, eventually your employees with stock options and investers will want to see liquidity to stick with you.
Finally, you may not have a choice. A company must become public after it has 500 shareholders. This can happen if you have enough investors and enough employees exercising their options early (presumably because they have left the company).