Has anyone else found that growth of "common practices", "best practices", "policies" to rediculous levels in their jobs?
Uh, no. In the jobs I've had over the years, I've found that most organizations never write a single automated test and engage in rampant cowboy coding. Even in the Java world, where heavy process is not usually seen as a problem, many projects seem to be run in a haphazard way with no real rules and no tests.
I think you're extrapolating too much from one bad experience. Testing and other good practices are still rare in software development jobs (though more common in open source), and anyone trying to change that needs all the encouragement they can get.