"I am still a firm believer of never post anything on the internet ANYWHERE unless you are comfortable with it."
Some times saying what is right can get you into a world of hurt. Just as the disappeared in the likes of Somalia etc. But since you are in a Western culture that (by and large) accepts freedom of speech (including criticism) why care about anyone else?
"the very first thing they should have done is change their name legally."
Great. Then they start posting on-line (maybe to help others) and get their new name linked to the deed. Way to go. And, of course, there can be many, many reasons for people to be "hiding". Whistleblowers is one more example. If people cannot anonymously raise concerns (either in private or in public) then they can be hounded out of their jobs. Just look at what happens to those who speak about about abuses/failings in the NHS.
"As for the privacy side of things - I am extremely comfortable with the privacy thus far afforded by Google+"
Then you haven't thought it through.
"if I wanted to I could set up my profile to only show my name and absolutely nothing else."
Wrong on an epic scale. You can make them visible/not to G+ users or the great unwashed, but they are *always* visible to Google, anyone who issues Google a subpeona (for example) or any other state that demands data from Google (e.g. China). Your data will also be mined "anonymously" (cough, cough) and shared to the highest bidder.
Privacy is not about hiding, it is about protecting. It's not about being duplicitous or secretive or anything else. You will only realise how precious your privacy is when you have lost it.