A retired engineer who goes to beer night reported that this attitude was common at BAE, though he hadn't known the origin. As additional evidence that this was not simply a conservative dodge to keep Bernard Shaw from installing socialism, note at the link that Wikipedia has this as a suggested policy as well.
You can find criticisms of the concept. In my experience, they tend strongly to be from people who want to change something - usually a specific something - but have only half-baked reasons that feel good. They think it would be better, fairer, if everything started from neutral, like a court case, high-school debate, or scientific inquiry. I will note that law, debate, and science are actually quite extreme in their reliance on precedent. They apply artificial neutrality only in the context of an enormous amount of shared agreement before proceeding.