Modern Culture05 Dec 2008 11:43 am
A new edition of The Intellectual Devotional, this time with a focus on Modern Culture, is now in stores! (Click here to order your copy.) As well as continuing to expand on posts from the General Edition, “The Devoted Intellect” blog will introduce and expand on material from the Modern Culture devotional. Today’s entry on The Internet is from the “Ideas and Trends” section.
On March 9, 1999, during his the Democratic primary for the presidency of the United States, then-Vice President Al Gore appeared on CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer and was asked why voters should prefer him to his rival, Senator Bill Bradley. Here is part of what he said:
I’ve traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.
Nobody paid much attention to this interview at the time, but the remark about having taken “the initiative in creating the Internet” was seized by the Bush campaign during the general election and recast into a now-familiar sound-bite: Al Gore claimed that he invented the Internet. He didn’t claim that: his remarks are a bit muddled, but don’t claim that he played any role in the technical evolution of the Internet (a process described in today’s entry of The Intellectual Devotional: Modern Culture Edition). He claimed to be a significant part of the legislative process. Was he?
Another person who’s been credited with the early development of the Internet is Vint Cerf, who is known by many as “The Father of the Internet” and who has been the “Internet Evangelist” at Google since 2005. He knows the history well enough to understand that much of the work on The Internet and its predecessor — ARPANET — began well before Al Gore joined the Senate in 1977. Nonetheless, he claims that Gore deserves quite a bit of credit anyway:
VP Gore was the first or surely among the first of the members of Congress to become a strong supporter of advanced networking while he served as Senator. As far back as 1986, he was holding hearings on this subject … and asking about their promise and what could be done to realize them. … As Senator, VP Gore was highly supportive of the research community’s efforts to explore new networking capabilities … and as Vice President, he has been very responsive to recommendations made for … additional research funding for next generation fundamental research in software and related topics. …
While it is not accurate to say that VP Gore invented Internet, he has played a powerful role in policy terms that has supported its continued growth and application, for which we should be thankful.
High praise from a respectable source, and worth remembering as Gore continues in his new role as Chief Environmental Evangelist.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.