Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PART ONE: Know Your History to Know Your Enemy

President Obama said in his speech last Friday...“The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Really? I mean...really??? First, let me be fair and say that our illustrious President is correct, in a way. The internet didn't get invented on its own.  AND, government research did bring it to the fore, but not so companies could make money off of it. That was a side benefit.

This is the reason why the American voter should study history and research what people in power have to say. As the old American Indian adage goes...Man speak with forked tongue.

If you want to get technical about it, we owe the internet to a Samuel Finley Breese Morse. He was the first one to come up with the idea of 'rapid long distance communication'. Isn't that what the internet is? Mr. Morse was a painter. Not only that, he was a very good one. In 1825 he was in Washington, painting a portrait for a commission of $1000. That's how good he was. While there, he received word that his wife was very ill. He immediately traveled to his home in New Haven, Connecticut, only to find that not only had she died, but she had already been buried. Distraught over the fact that his wife had been deathly ill for days and died without him at her bedside, he decided to lay his painting aside and do something about it.

My, my. The death of a loved one brought inspiration without the help of the gubment. In 1832, after witnessing expirements with the electromagnet..on his own...without gubment hep...he developed the concept of a single wire telegraph. He teamed up with Leonard Gale, a chemistry professor at New York University (who wasn't affiliated with the gubment) who helped Morse introduce relays that would allow the signal to travel great distances. Then, a man named Alfred Vail came into the team with his own private money to subsidize the invention (not gubment money). In 1838, they went to the United States Government but were REBUFFED for requesting federal sponsorship. Imagine that. However, they went back to Washington in 1842 and in 1843 were appropriated $30,000 to build an expiremental line. This was the FIRST involvement of the gubment with the invention and perfection of the first rapid long distance communication device.

He, along with his team, developed the Morse Code, which is still the standard for rhythmic transmission to this very day.

Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here's the rest of the story. Even though Morse had a U.S. patent from 1847 for his device, and the Supreme Court admitted and ruled that he had been the first to design a workable and practical telegraph, the United States Gubment refused to officially recognize it. In 1853, the Supreme Court did not uphold Morse's patent eligibility for the telegraph. In Europe, the governments of France, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Tuscany, Piedmont and Turkey, each of which contributed a share according to the number of Morse instruments in use in each country, awarded Morse the equivalent of $80,000. No such thing occurred with the United States Gubment. His contribution was finally recognized by his own country in 1871, when a bronze statue of Morse was erected in New York's Central Park.

So, Mr. President...please keep on telling us how the government is so helpful when it comes to entrepreneurship in this country. Please keep telling us how, "You didn't build that!" Please keep on extolling the great virtues of government assistance. Hell, if we work hard enough, we might get a statue out of it.

The fact is, without Samuel Morse, Leonard Gale and Alfred Vail...all private citizens using their own time and money...the internet would have had to wait, since the United States Government wasn't interested in such preposterous technology and then after they got it, pretty much stole it from him.

But, it all started because a man couldn't get to his dying wife's bedside in time to tell her goodbye. Love, Mr. President, is where the origin of the internet lies. Not money. And especially not with the government.

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