Instead of cobbling together features and forcing users to choose between multiple different solutions (all of which are broken in some fundamental way) people can actually go and FIX the problems.
Just like instead of forcing people to use bullshit hacks to get their wifi working by having Network-Manager adopt support for every hair brained configuration option, they just fixed the wifi drivers so the hacks were not necessary.
Just like instead of forcing people to edit custom asoundrc files and different weird combinations of pmix and amix plugins in a effort to get their sound to stop working like shit and sounding like shit... PA did away with all that. So instead of forcing people to work around buggy drivers you just fix the sound drivers.
So the goal here is to stop requiring users to configure their way around Linux's shitty power management and hardware support and just produce software that requires working hardware drivers. Then instead of putting time and effort into work around shitty drivers in user programs and configs developers can just fix the drivers so everything 'just works'.
This is the advantage that Linux can bring to the table over Windows. This is also why OS X is superior, in terms of usability, over Linux and Windows... because even though it is proprietary they control the hardware and can make sure everything 'just works'.
OS X doesn't have a configuration option to disable sleep either.
Because users don't have to deal with bullshit Windows drivers issues and do not have to deal with Linux's crappy power management support.
You can hack and fart around with your drivers and ruin your systems all you want. Just don't expect Gnome to support you in your endeavor.
Their goal is to make a system that is consistent and behaves in the most ideal manner that they see fit. If you think that limits you or controls you or that gnome's are nazis or whatever then all it shows is that you really don't understand how to make the system do what you want.
I can guarantee you that if you know python decently you could spend a evening working on a applet were you disable suspend-when-lid-closed with a single mouse click.
The Gnome configuration system makes this sort of thing EASY. Really. The whole system is designed for making it easier for developers and administrators, who know what their doing, to configure the details on how their user's desktops work.