Thursday, June 09, 2005

If the Gods had intended Politicians to think....

The US blogosphere is buzzing with recent revelations by the Boston Globe that George W Bush did better than John Kerry at college, and that he might have a better IQ score. Predictably, Democratic supporters who harped on Kerry's intellect vis a vis Bush are being lambasted by their right-wing opponents. But this issue has opened up another debate, how smart do you need to be to rule a country?

The common sense answer to this would be, Higher IQ = Better leadership. But Steve Sailer of shows that this may not always be the case.
(...)Still, this doesn't mean that IQ is not desirable in a President, all else being equal. The problem is that all else is not equal. There are so few people at the far right end of the IQ bell curve that you can't always find amongst them all the other Presidential talents you need.

In contrast, the rare individuals who make it to the White House from the fat part of the bell curve are far more gifted overall than is typical for their IQ. It's the same as with height in basketball. If you are 7'6" tall, NBA teams will throw money at you no matter how dorky you might be. But if you are only 6'0", the competition is so fierce that you need to be as quick as Allen Iverson.

The article also contains a lot of other fascinating facts, like the "intellectual" John F Kennedy scored 119 in an IQ test he took. The "boorish" Richard M Nixon, by contrast, is said to have an IQ of 143.

You can read this truly fascinating article here. Unfortunately, it deals only with US Presidents and Presidential candidates. I'm sure such an analysis of Indian politicians would be quite enlightening.

Hat Tip: Half Sigma.

PS: Steve Sailer performed a quantitative analysis of Bush and Kerry's test score before the elections (and the Globe revelations) and found Bush to be marginally smarter than Kerry. Read his I-told-you-so post here.


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