Latest viral anti-Obama rant

The “William Lear” on the viral email is the son of the inventor, not the inventor himself.

Without knowing much about him, I had some esteem for William Lear of the LearJet. (That’s somewhat modified by learning that he also invented the 8-track tape, and that he named one of his daughters “Shanda.”)

Still, I was distressed to get a viral email containing a slightly deranged rant against Barack Obama and his “Muslim baggage” attributed to “William Lear.”

My first reaction was to wonder whether the attribution was real. However, the viral email contains an email address and phone number for the purported author, so I sent a note inquiring about whether Mr. Lear was in fact the author, and got a reply back starting “Dear Komrade Mark.”

However, my distress turns out to have been needless. The author of the rant (assuming that he’s telling the truth about who he is) turns out to be the son of the inventor. The son, as far as I can tell, has never done anything of value, or even of note.

The frequency with which distinguished persons have worthless children is, of course, one reason that monarchy turned out to be a poor solution to the problem of choosing rulers.

Update A reader points me to Lear, Jr.’s, blog, which has the same rant. An excellent argument for high inheritance taxes.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: