IQ tests for all Presidential candidates, please.
It is time for American politicians – indeed, I suggest all politicians seeking high office – to have mandatory IQ tests administered to them. This would save America – or indeed any other nation – from electing that particular breed of charming, persuasive, self-confident, but ultimately empty headed type that politics too often seems to attract. (I am sure you can think of a few who fit that description, without me naming them). Such mental lightweights do not have the cognitive resources to make the best decisions, or to think with a long term enough vision, to guide any nation to long term security, success, growth and stability.
So, I propose that an independent, international body be established to administer IQ tests to all current or prospective politicians, of all nationalities. I am sure that there would be some interesting revelations were such an examination to be performed. This IQ information should be made publicly available, and be searchable online. It should also be reported in the mass media. Were this to be done, I am sure there would be very interesting consequences. The electorate would have to hold, in its collective mind, a measurement of the basic mental capacities of each candidate. The electorate would also have to make a judgement as to whether a particular level of cognitive capacity was enough for the job. Though, of course, there could be a mandatory minimum level imposed. In such a world, a politician who was dumber than the base threshold – say an IQ of 130, perhaps – would be debarred from being a politician at all. However, it would be probably be more interesting – though perhaps less safe for the country – to leave that decision up to the collective mind of the electorate (though the IQ of that, is not particularly high).
A system of mandatory IQ tests for all prospective politicians, particularly for Presidential candidates, would allow for much greater understanding of the true intellectual power of the people in question. Until now, the intellectual reputations of politicians, particularly Presidential candidates, have been established through canny media campaigns, which resemble consumer goods branding exercises i.e. the statements and promises made often bear no relation to reality or truth. The campaign for Senator Barack Obama’s run for Presidency is a case in point. The media made him out to be a genius of the highest order. He was praised for an intellectual power that was deemed unprecedented. I saw absurdly high estimates of his IQ floating around...ones that would have made him among the smartest of people anywhere. Yet, a close look at the intellectual achievements of his life, reveals a perturbing thinness of evidence. If he is truly a great intellect, he hasn’t done much to show it. In fact, he has done less to show it than many men of fairly average intellect do. This does seem to suggest that his true intellect, is actually much closer to that fairly average impression. For instance, he became President of Harvard Law Review, essentially through affirmative action by all appearances. (For those of my readers who are not familiar with “affirmative action”, this is the practice of selecting people on the basis of race, not merit, or innate ability. Typically in such “affirmative action programmes”, the threshold for a minority race applicant is much, much lower than for a majority race applicant. This leads to obvious problems with the performance of such people, on the job.) Now, as President of Harvard Law Review, one would have thought that there would have emerged from the young Barack Obama, a fount of articles, to be published in its previously august pages...not so. The young Barack Obama published nothing in the Harvard Law Review, apart, perhaps, from his own name. It seems that was the extent of his writing abilities at the time. This fact is very strong evidence that the young Barack Obama was short on both ideas and writing ability. Both facts are not indicators of any high degree of intelligence. Yet, still, the media made him out to be some kind of genius for being “the first black President of the Harvard Law Review”. In actual fact, his conduct as President of the Harvard Law Review reveals a very modest intelligence at work.
The most effective way to stop the mass media being used to create false impressions of the intelligence of candidates is for their IQs to be made publicly known, having been verified by an independent body, external to the United States, with no ties to any one competing nation. Perhaps this could be an all nation effort under the UN.
Were President Obama’s IQ made known, I really think there would be a lot of surprise in many quarters. For the first time, people would have objective knowledge of the quality of his mind – and I am certain that his supporters will be very disappointed by what that objective measurement reveals. However, it would be unfair to imply that President Obama, alone, is probably not as bright as his “genius” marketing made him out to be. It is just that, in his case, the disparity between legend and truth is likely to be greater than for most other politicians. This is partly because his intelligence has been exaggerated more – and partly because he is probably not as bright as certain other recent politicians, despite all the positive press about his mental powers (as if he were some sort of Marvel Superhero).
Other politicians, too, would surprise the electorate by the essential mediocrity of their minds. This is a good surprise, for the people deserve to know the quality of the people they are electing. Some might think that it is enough to know where someone was educated, to gain an indication of their intelligence. This is fallacious thinking because it assumes that all candidates for admission are treated in the same way. They are not. Some politicians – indeed, many – come from very privileged backgrounds and gained admission to prestigious schools on the basis of family connections and the wish for said institutions to curry favour with their families – or repay old benefactions and the like. So, admission to a prestigious school, for people of such privileged background, may be no indicator of talent at all. However, it is an indicator of a kind of political influence, which is not the same thing.
Another point to bear in mind: a person’s educational history bears the same correlation to their innate intelligence, as does their appearance. This correlation is 0.381, if I remember correctly. Thus, candidates boasting about their education, is no more significant than saying: “I have got a pretty face!”.
No. The only way to settle all the uncertainty about the mental abilities of political candidates is for them ALL to have MANDATORY IQ tests performed, under controlled, observed, videoed conditions (to prevent cheating), by an independent body. Until then, politicians will do what they always do: lie about their intelligence and abilities to convince the electorate that they have some special, or at least adequate, ability to govern.
That being said, if anyone has any inside knowledge about the IQ of any politician please comment below, with your evidence and source. Thank you.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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