There seems to be several schools of thought about babbit bearings.
My Dad used them for 50 years at his lumber facility for all of the fans in the kilns, and according to him, they were the only bearings that would run for very long periods of time for many years. He did mention that they have to be kept oiled.
Another school of thought comes from one of the old steam engine design books from the late 1800's, where one designer noted that while the babbit bearing itself never wears out, the journal or shaft will wear out, and replacing a journal or crankshaft was a much more difficult problem than replacing a bearing.
Charles Porter of the Porter-Allen steam engine fame (Porter designed the first "high-speed" steam engine in 1876 which revolutionized steam engine design for the next 50 years) preferred to run gray cast iron on gray cast iron, and found that to give the very best wear characteristics of all, and far better than brass.