My list of basic tools is a partial answer to the question about what has changed: Over the past few years, large numbers of programmers have come to depend on elaborate tools to interface code with systems facilities.
The standard library saves programmers from having to reinvent the wheel.
People who passionately want to believe that the world is basically simple react to this with a fury that goes beyond what I consider appropriate for discussing a programming language.
This evolution may compromise Java's claim of being simpler than C++, but my guess is that the effort will make Java a better language than it is today.
However, when Java is promoted as the sole programming language, its flaws and limitations become serious.
After all, C++ isn't a perfect match for Java's design aims either.