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November 20, 2004

Nazi IQs and leader success

I've been to the Volkmar Weiss' web site numerous times, but for some reason I missed this set of statistics about the IQs of some key Nazi leaders:

IQ of Nazi leaders, cited from: Gilbert, G. M.: Nuremberg Diary. New York: Signet Book 1947, p. 34; Wechsler-Bellevue IQ: Hjalmar Schacht IQ 143, Arthur Seyss-Inquart IQ 141, Hermann Göring IQ 138, Karl Dönitz IQ 138, Franz von Papen IQ 134, Erich Räder IQ 134, Dr. Hans Frank IQ 130, Hans Fritsche IQ 130, Baldur von Schirach IQ 130, Joachim von Ribbentropp IQ 129, Wilhelm Keitel IQ 129, Albert Speer IQ 128, Alfred Jodl IQ 127, Alfred Rosenberg IQ 127, Constantin von Neurath IQ 125, Walter Funk IQ 124, Wilhelm Frick IQ 124, Rudolf Hess IQ 120, Fritz Sauckel IQ 118, Ernst Kaltenbrunner IQ 113, Julius Streicher IQ 106 - "confirming the fact that the most successful men in any sphere of human activity - whether it is politics, industry, militarism or crime - are apt to be above average intelligence."

Whether or not the Nazis can be considered to have been "successful" is debatable and it has been demonstrated numerous times that that the Nazis cared more about ethnicity than about the merit of individuals. Of course, it is generally fairly well known that the Nazi leadership and their scientists were extremely smart. However, I continue to find it extremely disturbing, no matter how many times I see statistics similar to these, that such intelligent individuals were attracted to such a destructive and horrid ideology/ies (you see the same type of high-IQ individuals in Marxist movements, as well). So, let me ask some questions to get your brains spinning a bit...

I have mentioned statistics similar to these in the comment sections of this site before, usually adding in Richard Nixon's IQ of 143 and John Kennedy's IQ of 119. It has been said by some that "many empirical studies confirm the central prediction that an IQ near 119 is the prescription for leader success." (unfortunately, I have not read the book that this quote came out of, so I don't know who and why they say this) So I must ask, do leaders with above average, but not sub-genius or genius-level, IQs have a higher chance of success as a leader than those with sub-genius and above-genius level IQs? Is this because those with higher IQs tend to be more ambitious than those with lower IQs, sometimes to the point of recklessness?

Hitler, before he died, said something along the lines of "The German people have not met my expectations and so as I will perish I will ensure that Germany perishes, as well." (if somebody has the actual quote, please post it since I can't seem to find it anywhere, but I know I've seen it before) Hitler was obviously ambitious to the point of recklessness and his high-IQ advisors were certainly equally ambitious, if not more. When the tide turned against them many believed, as Hitler did, that it was not their own fault for being too ambitious, but the fault of their people because they did not meet their expectations.

You see similarities today amongst the high-IQ neoconservatives who are now blaming others instead of re-evaluating their own policies. They are saying things along the lines of, "We did not fail. Our plans and our policies did not fail. What failed are the Iraqi people. They did not meet our expectations." I might add that they aren't necessarily wrong here when it comes to their expectations for Iraqis, but they are absolutely wrong when they use others as a scapegoat instead of re-evaluating their policies.

So my theory is that higher-IQ people simply tend to be more ambitious and this ultimately dooms many of them when put into such positions of power. Since this post is mostly to satisfy some of my curiosity, what does everyone think? Does it really matter if a leader has an IQ of 143 instead of 116? (this is assuming that generally you aren't going to get into a leadership position if you have a low IQ) Are higher-IQ leaders, as I asked before, more prone to reckless policies that will lead to failure than those with slightly lower ones, like Nixon in comparison to JFK?

Posted by Arcane at 11:26 PM