The same friend previously referenced from #mediagoblin brought up that this is a "fix the distros" vs "fix the package managers" discussion (well, kind of, it also might be "fix the packages"). But I think there may be another way forward that is kind of both related to functional package managers: if people were developing using nix/guix they could use the "universal virtualenv" type features each provide (eg "guix environment", and I forget what the nix equiv is) to do their development, at which point the package is probably also passing the test of being reasonably generally packageable / deployable as well.
It's also true that NixOS/GuixSD are more likely to be able to survive packaging applications designed with npm in mind than more traditional distros like Debian / Fedora can... since they are building derivatives which are purely based on their inputs, multiple versions of dependencies can be handled, it's just a bit of a pain in the butt.
But I think a package built with Nix/Guix as a starting point for a development environment is less likely to end up in the state of an NPM package which may potentially have significantly old dependencies in its tree, as it's fairly easy to identify and keep things up to date, and "sticking with old versions" is not considered a feature or something that happens as much without being noticed.
That said, I still value Debian / Fedora, and I would like modern applications to be able to be installed on them!