Before placing blame for the ensuing digital dark ages on Basic itself...
We can pin point the start of the Digital Dark Ages to February 3rd, 1976.
That is the date that Bill Gates posted his infamous "Letter to Hobbyists" in which he outlined his plans for making all the software that users of the emerging personal computers might use closed source, proprietary, protected by copyright and for profit.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... byists.jpg
The idea being that we, software gurus, write the code while you, ignorant peasants, pay us.
A brilliant plan. Morally bankrupt but brilliant.
All of a sudden the BASIC that was created as means to bring computer literacy and liberation to all was subverted into a tool for one man to make money. And that was only the beginning.
Nobody saw this plan so clearly at the time as Richard Stallman. Hence GCC and hence Linux... as you know.
Maybe the desire of many to strike it rich by selling proprietary software was the real reason behind the end of the golden age. Linus could not have written an operating system before the last hacker at MIT created gcc.
Although the foundations for the second age of personal computing appear quite solid...
I'm not so optimistic:
1) Very few lust for personal computers anymore. They do all they need with appliances that use services in the "cloud".
2) Today it's not the software that matters. It can all be Free and Open Source. Where we are imprisoned is in that it's the data that matters. The likes of Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc don't care if we have the same source code as they are using. They have all our data. They know everything about us.
Knowledge is power...
3) Will any of those kids learning software skills with the Pi today save their generation from software enslavement in the future?
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .