Offered up as proof that we need government in this era of justifying extracting more and more money from the private sector to further grow our 3.6 trillion dollar a year (running trillion plus deficits, adding to a $15 trillion debt and 120 trillion in unfunded liabilities) is that hey, no government, no internet.
How do you like us now? [thrusts hat out for additional taxes]
Well what's wrong with this argument? I recently linked an article that points out that the internet itself was not "invented" by the government, but actually by Xerox. Now, the embryo of the protocol that the internet actually uses was developed by a government worker to serve a particular government purpose. But that purpose wasn't to "create" an information superhighway where we could all log on and tweet pictures of our wieners between Amazon orders.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, just for those who don't seem to be listening. We need government like we need lots of other things. We need it specifically for law and order - to protect our natural rights from violations by others including from their use of the government to violate our natural rights. And government isn't this ethereal thing that does nothing. It has internal processes just like any other business.
So the government, like the power industry and like any other sector of society, does things, and it tries to improve the way its internal workings operate to enhance things, make things better, and more efficient for itself. Things it comes up with are no different than things someone comes up with at Boeing. Someone will ultimately see that thing, and say "hey, what if I use THAT with THIS OTHER THING to do THIS?".
The point here being that it's not like if person A didn't come up with it, no other person B would ever have come up with it. It's ludicrous to think otherwise. Things get invented in response to need.
Would we have an internet had it not been for the government? I say, yes. Someone else in some other industry would have had a need similar to the need the government had for such a protocol, and it would have been designed, and others would have built on it.
Roads, I say, are a different story. Roads involve personal property rights of (depending on the road) tens, hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people. When the concept of "eminent domain" is brought up, roads are the first thing that come to mind. Not condemning personal property and giving it to someone else who will develop it and increase its value as a tax base.
Roads also provide an agreed upon literally [in general] public route that does not mean cutting across others' property. They are exactly the kind of thing we need government for, mainly for the myriad legal implications of laying one down in the first place. Even if somebody at Boeing came up with the concept of a system of interconnected roads, it would have no authority to build them. The internet -- different story, outside of (same argument) the existing utility rights-of-way ... the legalese.
Long and short of it is, just because something was done by the government doesn't mean it couldn't or wouldn't have been done by someone in the private sector. "The Government Invented The Internet" is not just wrong, it's a straw man anyway.