Reform is not what's needed
"We have to have the public WHOIS database, unless we want the internet to complete its transition to 100% scammers, spammers and botnets."
Look around. That's happened already at least in the sense that the WHOIS system is entirely ineffective in combating such practices. Fixing it might have an impact but it would be hugely expensive since any effective and fair system would require a large amount of human oversight and that impact would be marginal at best since dodgy times are well versed in the art of obscuring their identities.
"if you wanna run with the big dogs and have a cute personal (yet public) domain, there are responsibilities that go along with that."
No, I'm not interested in running with dogs, big or small. I own a domain which I use for legitimate non-commercial purposes. It's not a big deal, but it is a part of what the internet does best (provide and easy and inexpensive way for individuals to communicate with the world on whatever subject takes their fancy). I could hire a PO box but would that increase my costs over sixfold so I would probably just not bother. Multiply that by millions and the internet would be a much poorer place. Of course, we could always migrate to Facebook. I hear they're really good on privacy.
"Having to send a snail-mail to a generic address in the hopes of eventually getting a snail-mail reply about who it is that is trying to sell you something just doesn't cut it."
You send letters to people who spam you? Are you so concerned that your \/!@gr@ is genuine? Seriously, if you have a genuine need to confirm the an online identity you'll need something better than a random post box (or even a random street address). Law enforcement agencies on the other hand would do just as well with a minimally private database (but see my first point above).
Yes, the whois system is broken, anachronistic and ripe for replacement. It pointless to tinker. Either let it die a natural death or come up with an alternative suited to the realities of the contemporary internet.