Saturday, January 12, 2019

The IQ-ist Creed

Responding to a critical comment from a reader, Vox Day, aka Theodore Beale, wrote:

If you are a Gamma, or even have Gamma tendencies, you simply must learn to resist the urge to correct others, particularly those who are more intelligent than you are.

The implications being, first, that people of only moderate intelligence, i.e., IQ,* are essentially incapable of sound judgment on anything, and that certainly a person of IQ x cannot under any circumstances know better than a person with an IQ that is greater than x.

That, in a nutshell, is the IQ-ist creed. It is the notion that, based on a a 20-minute, paper and pencil test of verbal and numerical facility, everyone can be ranked in a linear hierarchy of intelligence. The IQ test thus provides the technocratic means to implement the Fascist leadership principle. Authority is exercised from the top down, rank being determined by IQ, without feedback or objection from the bottom up. 

There are, however, a few problems with this approach as the Axis powers discovered during WW2. Thus, for example, however intelligent the leadership may be, it may also be criminally insane, which means it has potentially bad consequences for everyone who accepts its commands. There will, of course, be bad consequences for those who refuse the leadership's commands however obviously insane, since the leadership principle requires unquestioning acceptance of the authority of the leadership (see boxed quote above). 

There are other problems with the Fascistic notion that those of high IQ are inevitably right in any dispute with those of lower IQ, the first being that that notion is obviously false. Smart people make errors of judgement all the time; know little in relation to the sum total of human knowledge; and are far from consistently honest. Furthermore, when smart people make mistakes, tell lies, or go bonkers, it may require no exceptional intellectual power to recognize the fact. Therefore, the notion that a person of ordinary intellect cannot criticize someone eligible for membership in Mensa, the club for people of high IQ, is absurd. 

One could go on. For example, Mensa members tend to have an abnormally high incidence of mental illness, suggesting that high IQ and good judgement are not necessarily well correlated. Then there is the fact that IQ measures none of what are, in the common acceptation of the term, considered to be facets of intelligence: judgment, for instance, wisdom, wit, sense, insight, intuition, giftedness or talent. This alone should make one wary of any scheme for ranking all humanity on a single scale of intelligence. To do so would almost certainly have prevented the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach, van Gogh, or Richard Feynman pursuing the careers in which they were able to demonstrate at least a modicum of real talent, i.e., intelligence, undemonstrable by means of an IQ test. 

*Vox Day apparently holds to the IQ-ist notion that a 20-minute paper and pencil test of verbal and numerical facility provides a comprehensive measure of intelligence.

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