The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

President Bush's IQ

How smart is President Bush? The question seems to be one that troubles many American commentators.

Before I answer I would like to point out that I have no personal interest in American politics and I live outside America, I ask the question only for what we can learn from its answer.

I have done a net search and found huge variations in claimed figures, from those who suggest that he is in the retarded range of 70 or so, to those who believe him to have an IQ of between 125 and 129. The ones who suggest the latter range do so based on his SAT college scores which would correspond to that range of IQs. Let us assume that, at one time, his IQ was in the range 125 to 129, though lifestyle habits since then may have impacted it. Is this too low an IQ for the President of America?

To understand the situations we need to know how smart the average American is. According to a study of national IQs, the mean IQ of the USA is 98. That tells me something very clearly: President George W. Bush's IQ, if it is indeed in the proposed range is actually IDEAL for a leader. Why is this? Well, there is a theory that the leader of group must never have an IQ more than 30 points above the mean of the group if he is to be an effective communicator with the group. A larger IQ differential would lead to communicative failure. Thus a leader CAN be too smart to lead effectively. The IQ range proposed for Bush places him at 27 to 31 points above the mean of his optimal IQ, therefore, for an American leader.

There is only one thing that worries me, as an observer about this analysis: Bush's personal style does not often convey this degree of intelligence. The possibility exists, therefore, that these estimates of his understanding are too high. We may never know the truth, but the principle remains that the intelligence of the electorate places a limitation on the intelligence of the leader. If the difference is too great, the leader will not be able to communicate and so will not be able to lead.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:16 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would a highly gifted leader be unable to adapt his or her style of communication to the audience?

1:49 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I am not the originator of the theory that a leader should be no more than 30 points in IQ above the lead...and I don't know whether it was based on observation. However, I would say that it has a certain merit in that the more distant one is from the audience, the more difficult it is to understand their perspective and relate to them.

For a highly gifted leader to communicate to those very different from him/herself requires another gift: that of flexible communication. I think this is a separate gift rather like that of an actor or an orator and may or may not be present in the leader along with their other gifts.

From observation, I would say that many of the most highly gifted are NOT good at relating well to the average person: the psychological distance is too great.

However, that is not to say that there might be an individual leader who has learnt to communicate well to those who are rather different from themselves. Yet, they appear to be in the minority. Most modern leaders are not that much brighter than those they lead...following the 30 point rule, it seems.

Best wishes

3:18 PM  

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