Years (and years) ago, I was president of the Prometheus Society, one of those tiny up-above-Mensa IQ groups with a supposed cutoff of 164 IQ. (No, I don’t think my IQ actually is that high. I think I’m closer to 150 and fluked in). We wrote articles on everything in the monthly newsletter Gift of Fire and argued the points – sort of a slow-moving, proto-blogosphere in the late 80’s. All you folks who think that the world would be better if the smart people were in charge – drop that idea. I have never interacted with a group that had screwier ideas, listened less, or postured more. Everyone arrived with the idea at long last, people I can reason with, but the discussions were as petty and unreasonable as everywhere else. Higher vocabulary and more formulas, same arguments.
There were a few genuinely wise and reasonable people there, but the overriding tendency was to take a principle and apply it so rigorously as to remove it from realistic context. I likened it at the time to getting a screw cross-threaded, but forcing it in anyway. These people had the raw brain power, the g-factor, the density of glial cells to force a bad idea to its conclusion, and the result wasn’t pretty. There was an Asperger-y quality to every discussion, a sense that it mattered greatly whether something was called blue-green vs. teal. You don’t want your new masters to have Asperger’s. Trust me here, people. I’ve had a very charming, witty boss with Asperger’s before. It’s hellish.
I liken intelligence in the limited sense to height in basketball. Height helps. Everyone would like a little more. But the greatest players are not always the tallest, because other factors become ascendent after a certain minimum. How determined are you? How well do you mesh with others? How fast are you, how coordinated, how intuitive, how well-coached?
Things seem to run better when the folks with SAT’s 1200-1400 are running things.