I just last week regressed to an extract batch after many years strictly all-grain.
Our purpose (my brother and I) was to play with a 6 gallon batch of Barley Wine (we usually brew 2 12 gallon batches at a time). We never made a beer at 1.100 OG, and we felt we were never going to get to this "experiment" unless we made it a light day (we coupled it with kegging our last two beers).
While the experience was "nice", I figure we will opt to go all grain if our experiment was successful. I remember being very satisfied with extract brewing for a very long time, but the hobby was flagging for me, and the challenges of all grain made my hobby new and fun again. I can't discount extract for another future experiment, but for me, I never felt much like a brewer with extract...kinda like making soup from a can, I couldn't call myself much of a chef, no matter what ingredients I added and how good it tasted.
I understand the arguement about malt and barley, but I don't call myself a maltster or farmer, either. If hops didn't grow like a weed (and I recieved a few free rhizomes) I wouldn't be doing that.
The ease of extract brewing got me drinking good beer easily (and more cheaply), but long ago it stopped being about just drinking good beer cheaply....I can afford to buy good beer, and I already brew far more beer than I know what to do with.
I don't begrudge someone who sticks with extract brewing. It is just that for me, all grain was the real epiphany and extract was the gateway drug that I held onto for far too long....so I can't help but offer my experience and encouragement to try new things in this wonderful hobby of ours (you never know)....and if you want to malt or grow or mash or just brew in a bucket and pot....rock on fellow Homebrewer...ROCK ON!!! Although I have been brewing for almost 20 years, I doubt I will get to 500 batches as a hobbyist. I am more likely to increase my barellege if I need more beer.