Suppose we can take the following statement as true:
Whether you use it or not, the state of the programming craft has been elevated by many of the ideas bundled in Ruby on Rails.
ActiveRecord in particular brought many ideas that made it easier for more people to program with a database. Whereas before most people thought in terms of mappings or extracting data from hashes, AR gave a more fluent and object-like notation to work with. Thus, more interesting applications were born.
Right now, good VM technology is limited to Sun and Microsoft, while Apple, Google and Mozilla are re-inventing it for their web browsers. Open source languages, mostly, lack this VM technology.
ActiveRecord improved the state of the programming craft by spreading ideas that make working with a database easier. Could a similar improvement in the programming craft be realized by diffusing the knowledge of how to implement a good VM through a library? Is this a worthwhile aspiration?