The first answer was: A knowledge of Latin allows direct access to some of the world's greatest literature. This could obviously not be denied. It was true that by dint of great perseverance you could indeed get to the point of reading a page of Vergil's Aeneid virtually unaided at about the speed at which you might type it out with no previous practice and one finger.
But it was the second argument which was the clincher. Learning Latin is an intellectual exercise: it trains the mind. Well, for the majority, it certainly was very hard work, like most other forms of exercise, and, of course, we had been led to believe that hard work was by definition good for us.
The literary heritage response is in this case even less likely to succeed. It is not that the relevant texts do not exist. There are, to judge by their effects, some very sophisticated examples of the programmer's art and programmers are often to be heard talking of programming style. But reading programs in search of that style is certainly no gentle leisure activity. It is not uncommon for even an experienced programmer to have considerable difficulty puzzling out the intention and mechanics of one of his (or her) own creations. Vergil, at least, cannot have had such problems.
The claim that programming provides a training for the mind, however, is a line which can be borrowed and this time it can be used with greater justification.
You might argue, too, that learning Latin in particular is in some respects especially closely related to learning to program. For one thing, although talking to a computer can be more or less interactive, depending on the language you are speaking, the activity is usually rather less like a conversation than the word talk might imply. Typically you provide a set of written instructions, or perhaps write out a set of facts and rules, for the computer to read and react to. These documents in computer-speak are normally called programs, but they are text documents rather like letters to freind. In using Latin, you are also more likely to read (Cicero's letters) and write (the occasional sentence) rather than speak and hear the language, because real live ancient Romans are fairly hard to find.