Never Tell Anyone Your IQ Score!

It’s quite strange, and probably peculiarly American. In the US, one is never supposed to reveal one’s IQ. I guess therefore you are never even supposed to get tested. Supposedly, it’s rude to mention it, but this has always been a fake argument, as Americans gleefully adhere, leech-like, to all sorts of unseemly self-promotion. Just not about brains, please!
Americans get to toot their own horns, fish for compliments, brag, whatever you call it, and as long as it is done tastefully, no one minds. If it’s about money, athletics, chicks, fame or power, the horrors that ensue from such narcissist indulgence include women rushing to your bedside and appearances on the cover of major newsmagazines.
Maybe you even get your own TV show. “The Apprentice” comes to mind. Narcissist epidemics rage across the land, but as long as the sociopaths get money, popularity, chicks, fame, power, fancy cars, mansionettes and whatnot not a single American soul rests uneasy.
But alas!
Let one irreverent soul let slip the facts of his mental endowment (an accident of birth no less) and the whole of US society erupts. Your IQ score is as innocent as your height -it’s a physical fact about your brain. What’s the problem?
Jealousy? Surely it is not. Repugnance of the boastful? In ultra-narcissist 21st Century America, hardly, since those boasting of prowess or endowment in athletics, sexual conquests, bank accounts, possessions, positions attained or power wielded are tolerated and frankly rewarded.
But the hatestorm that rains down on one who dares to commit the transgression of repeating the scientific fact of his IQ score needs an umbrella to fend it off. There can only be one reason why American society reacts so violently to an innocent revelation of the material fact of one’s IQ, as relevant to one’s physical being, one would think, as one’s heart rate, blood pressure, height or weight.
That is the ferocious and dead ignorant hatred of the intellectual that gallops across the cowboy landscape of Perennial Frontier America. To be an American is to be a dummy, or at least to act like one. Look at George Bush.
We’ve always hated intellectuals, and we probably always will. It’s the American Dumbfuck Way. Check out de Tocqueville or Hofstadter. In 127 years, from 1835 to 1962, the Idiot Adulation and Brainiac Hatred didn’t budge an inch.
Some things never change.

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4 thoughts on “Never Tell Anyone Your IQ Score!”

  1. Great post Lindsay, you rascally elitist.
    In addition to the hatestorm, other things that follow when someone lets their IQ slip include:
    denial that IQ matters
    asking why the person is “so fixated on IQ”
    asking what exactly the person has “invented” or “contributed to humanity”
    The latter question is best of all, because it subtly insinuate that while IQ doesn’t matter, and talking about it constitutes boasting, smart people are all required to be more altruistic than anyone else.

  2. Does this apply to the stinking rich too? For the rest of us it tends to be ” if you’re so smart why ain’t you rich ” It’s hard to come back on that, so it’s best not to set yourself up for a knock.

  3. I think the filthy rich get a little pass on intellectual-bashing, at least if they are self made. Even then, they’d be better off to talk about their hundred-hour workweeks (I knew one upwardly mobile type who talked about his 40-hour workday, without a trace of irony).

    1. If you’re rich in the US, you can do anything you want to. I worked for an Indian tribe once and this rich investor guy came in. He looked like he had never worked a day in his life.
      He had a copy of a very technical linguistic document I had produced about the mechanics of inventing an alphabet for the tribe, my problems in making the alphabet, and the solutions I came up with. I think he knew I wrote it and he was reading it with this smile on his face and just eating it up. I think quite a few of the idle rich like to see themselves as scholar-dilettantes.

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