>That would certainly simplify the ACL inheritance situation, but it's the files themselves you want to control access to, not the directory entries. Having different permissions depending on how you access the file seems like a big step backward to me.
Why? It's totally natural and logical.
And it's not quite unlike the current situation - you must have +r access to file's directory to be able to read it (if you obtain the file handle to it by doing path traversal).