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On Choosing to Program Well

Jeff Atwood takes on PHP, the language of choice around here, and gives is a good, well-deserved thrashing followed by the most insightful thing I've read in a while:

You've probably heard that sufficiently incompetent coders can write FORTRAN in any language. It's true. But the converse is also true: sufficiently talented coders can write great applications in terrible languages, too. It's a painful lesson, but an important one.

I, too, initially learned programming in BASIC (followed by a smidge of Pascal). Then I didn't program for a decade or so. Then what did I do? Perl, a language possibly more derided for spaghetti code than PHP. So in a way I should be doomed to be one of those relentlessly inflicting FORTRAN on the world. I don't believe I do. Why not?