I whole-heartedly agree that lock picking should not be bypassed by bashing. Why would you EVER take lock picking as a skill if all you need to do is carry around a spare axe to bash things?
After reviewing this thread and the original lock picking thread, the counter-arguments I'm seeing basically all say the same thing:
"Smashing chests should have no penalty because I want to spend all my points on combat skills."
This game is clearly not a min-max game, which is one reason why I look forward to its full release. If you want to have a combat only Diablo-style character, well then you should miss some of the non-combat game content (speech paths, items getting broken in chests, etc), because the character I make will be missing some of the combat content (by not being as good at fighting).