The Military versus The Hippies

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

It is worth noting that the “myth of the birth of the internet” has two divergent tellings. The first is that the Internet is largely a product of military and government researchers, who wanted to build a distributed network communication structure that would be resistant to a nuclear attack, harness the power of networked computers to further national power. In this telling APARNET plays a significant role. In the other telling the Internet was created by a group of ex-hippie, still partially reliving Woodstock idealists who visualizing a powerful knowledge sharing tool created the protocols we all now use. (For a quick historical take you might want to watch this short video.)

It is telling that those representing the United States government or our national interests will deploy whichever story is most strategic at the time. “The internet is great, thank the military and the government.” “The internet was invented by hippie anarchists, we need to fix it.”