We all remember Senator Ted Stevens trying to explain the Internet as a “series of tubes“. And the Supreme Court’s recent faux pas while trying to get a handle on this text messaging thing. Well it turns out that technophobia isn’t a new phenomenon in Washington.
Back in 1930, the Senate tried to ban dial telephones because they felt it was inappropriate and wasteful to do the work of operators themselves. The resolution, which passed, read:
Whereas dial telephones are more difficult to operate than are manual telephones; and Whereas Senators are required, since the installation of dial phones in the Capitol, to perform the duties of telephone operators in order to enjoy the benefits of telephone service; and Whereas dial telephones have failed to expedite telephone service; Therefore be it resolved that the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is authorized and directed to order the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. to replace with manual phones within 30 days after the adoption of this resolution, all dial telephones in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol and in the Senate office building.
At the time, they stated a hope the telephone company would take a hint and give up nationally on this foolish roll-out of phones people had to dial themselves. The horror.
So yes, let’s listen to these guys on technical issues like ACTA, broadband initiatives, intellectual property laws, and cyber-security. At least we can take solace in knowing that being a Luddite is apparently a longstanding job requirement.