" In the real world, keeping the aircraft level, lined up and flaring in the presence of any kind of cross wind is very tricky. Go to a small airport and watch a student landing sometime. ."
Students pilots are having that problem because they haven't yet fully developed the spatial coordination of flying a plane. People landing on the simulator as a beginner are no different, if anything, worse. Of all the people who've never handled any type of plane (real or otherwise) who I've tried to see land my plane on Xplane, not ONE even got it on the runway - in the first place!
"They balloon, land on one wheel and go screeching across runway, drop the nose hard".
To be honest I still do things like that on Xplane on rare occasions - it's just that in the simulator you aren't feeling it, and you are watching it on a small screen, so it doesn't seem as obvious. What people often pass as a "good" landing on Xplane would be a dreadful landing in a real plane. I think that's an important point to make. I watch people streaming Xplane (on twitch or youtube) and the number of landings on the side of the runway, swerving off the side and on again, serious bounces, even overshooting the runway on a few flights I've watched - this is seen as "normal" to many sim pilots - shockingly enough. In real life, these landings would have you under investigation.
"In a simulator you just get the aircraft near the ground going the right speed and, boom, you land, easy. In the real world this does not happen at all."
LOL, no. Not in the ones I use (I use XPlane 10 FWIW). Not even close.
When someone who's never flown the Simulator or real plane before tries to land the simulator, they can't even get to the runway! I invite people to try and land my plane on my simulator and the last time I did it (I gave it to them lined up with the runway, configured for landing, good weather, on the glide slope with me controlling the throttles), they ended up over controlling so badly we nearly went in the sea at a 40° bank angle going 30 degrees off course to the left of the runway (I took over before the inevitable crash). You could consider that person a "student pilot") of the simulator. I found it funny anyway, because I am evil.
In contrast, my first landing attempt in the real plane was much more simple than this - and I actually got to the runway in the first place!!!! That said, I still bounce my Xplane landings quite often! That's after using it for years!
So yeah the sim feels different than the real plane, but no easier to someone whose done neither before.