random($foo): Internet Asshattery, Armchair Scaling Experts Edition. If you’re not the largest site using a given piece of software or framework and you’re having more trouble than someone who is, you’re doing it wrong.
With WordPress specifically, there are hundreds of sites I can point to that scale just fine to meaningful traffic levels with no caching, plugins, or anything. If your server is tuned for serving static files instead of dynamic requests, then a plugin to make WP output static files is a fine band-aid, but only if you don’t have the access or expertise to properly configure things in the first place. (In which case you should consider alternative hosting, help, or a hosted service like WordPress.com.) But people like to think that (1) they’re bigger or more special than anyone else or (2) that the 5-6 layers that sit under WordPress have nothing to do with its performance.
I don’t expect everyone to know about this, it’s very much a learning-by-doing thing and everyone’s situation is different. But at least operate with the assumption that if there’s someone bigger running without troubles that they (or sufficient Googling) might be able to help you out.
See also: the shockingly ignorant comments (over 200 at this writing) on this post. There are some smart people in there, but they’re drowned out by “wind0z sux!” and “that’s what you get for using (PHP|MySQL|WP|IIS|RDBMS)…”
Here’s a WordPress blog doing just fine: