Jewish intelligence, cont.

(Note: Normally I would not let a reader mention his IQ score, but here it was directly relevant to ILW’s point, so I left it in.)

An Indian living in the West writes:

I think you will find this interesting. I think I figured out why I am not already a multi-billionaire business tycoon!:)

In the last discussion we had about Jews and their success in so many fields, we discussed the special “psychic charge.” There is a lot to this, but intelligence is also a very interesting factor to me. I took an IQ test recently and scored 134. I am not a specialist on psychometric testing so I don’t know what type of test this was and where that leaves me in the population. But the results said that I was close to 99th percentile (98.8 I think).

The Jews I worked with (who became unbelievably successful) were probably above 145. Some were probably above 150. I am now beginning to appreciate this better. Their minds worked so much faster than other people (including my own). I actually realised this when recalling about so many incidents when brains were stormed for complex commercial problems and the way people came up with solutions in meetings.

It has become fashionable in the West to say that wealth has nothing to do with IQ. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the self made multi-billionaires in business would be at least 140 or above (Gates is apparently 160 and Buffett above 145). The Indians I know that have succeeded are similar. Like war, art, chess or music, business requires brains. And people who have more of them than others have an advantage.

And Jewish intelligence is not even a matter of debate any more. The question is settled for anyone willing to investigate and think about it.

LA replies:

I may have told this story before, about one of the experiences which led me to believe in the substantive reality of intelligence and of differences of intelligence.

When I entering ninth grade (at age 14), my family moved from Union Township, New Jersey to South Orange, New Jersey. Union was a fairly typical mix of Irish, German, Jewish, Italian, etc. South Orange was much more Jewish. In ninth grade, I belonged to the math club in my junior high school. When we were given problems to solve, I would get the answer, but there were always other kids who—no matter how hard I tried—got the answer at least a couple of seconds before I did. Through this repeated experience, I got the feeling that intelligence was a “fuel” that people had in their brains, and that some people simply had more of this “fuel” than others.

On another point, I have never heard Bill Gates say anything that struck me as particularly intelligent.

ILW replies:
It is a fuel. But it also has to be used. And Jews use the fuel very well. I don’t know what it is that makes them do it. Here it is probably the “psychic charge” that comes in.

I have known many Jews personally in my life. I don’t think I ever met a really stupid Jewish person (by stupid I mean low IQ). Most of the Jews I have known were a lot smarter than me. Some were not. But even among the not as smart ones, no one was really stupid.

I can contrast this with all my experiences meeting English people in London and ethnic French people in France. And here, of course, we had the full spectrum—smart, average and dumb.

I can recollect this recent incident when my Czech friend in Geneva had started seeing a new girl and he was very excited about her. Like him she is also Czech and so one day we met in a bar in the evening in the heart of town. Turns out she is a Czech Jew—a tiny number remain I guess. She seemed like an ordinary girl with a little above average ability (though like most Czech women extremely attractive). However, after ten minutes I realised that she spoke eight languages. I was completely dumbstruck. And she is no more than 26. Just incredible to me. [LA replies: A person who speaks eight languages is very unusual, period. I don’t think her language ability indicates anything about Jewish intelligence per se.]

I don’t know if Aditya B. has ever mentioned this to you, but Indians are very vain and think they are smart. My long stay in various Western countries has disabused me of such notions.

LA replies:

An impression I have about Indians, or rather Hindus (and it’s only my impression), is that they have this very ancient and high-level culture and religion, and think that they already know everything that needs to be known, and so they lack curiosity.

Beth M. writes:

ILW has measured his IQ as being in the mid-130s, and assumes that the Jews he used to work with had IQs in the 140s or above because they could come up with business solutions during meetings that were better than other people’s ideas AND they came up with the ideas faster. This seems like questionable reasoning to me.

The area of IQ testing that Jews are known to excel at is “verbal fluency,” and they are not known for social reticence or lack of confidence, so the fact that they can spout their idea FASTER than other people means little. In terms of Jews tending to have very high-quality ideas for business problems, surely that is at least partly due to the fact that they often grow up in extended families in which a HUGE percentage of the adults are self-employed in a wide variety of businesses—everything from retail liquor to wholesale plumbing supplies to medical/dental/law/insurance practices, etc. Around the dinner table, there is frequent talk about various business problems and possible solutions.

I remember reading a quote from Johnny Carson in which he said that being witty was really a function of having an extremely good memory. After you have listened to a thousand different business discussions, you have a huge head start over other people when it comes to tailoring a practical solution to a “new” business problem that has just come up.

When I was growing up, NOBODY in my huge extended family was self-employed, but I had Jewish friends in high school who had extended families in which nearly every adult male had some sort of business or professional practice. So, it’s nature AND nurture.

LA replies:

My father had his own business, but it was not a high level business and was not intellectually engaging. It was not the subject of interesting dinner table discussions. I grew up without knowledge of or interest in business. I imagine that if my family had been more like the type of Jewish family Beth describes, I might have been more interested in business, and might have gotten into business and made a lot of money. But then VFR wouldn’t have existed, and, among other things, we wouldn’t be having this discussion about Jewish intelligence. :-)

LA writes:
A counterpoint to ILW’s praise of Jewish intelligence is the well-known fact that, of all groups, Jews are the most fervent (and the most unreflective) in their embrace of insane and suicidal liberal beliefs. This connects to the well known idea that high intelligence is no guarantee of insight or wisdom, but instead is correlated with the propensity to believe insane and destructive ideas which people of average intelligence would eschew.

So the smarter people are, the more likely they are to believe insane things. This is especially the case in liberal society where the most successful—and therefore the smartest—people will also be the most liberal.

But then this connects with another idea. I have previously observed that notwithstanding the mad beliefs liberals have about politics, they behave quite rationally and intelligently in the conduct of their own personal, practical, and professional lives. Which would further mean that the smarter people are, the greater this dichotomy between their political irrationality and their personal and practical rationality. Which would further mean—since the Jews are the most intelligent group—that this dichotomy would be most pronounced among Jews. It’s yet another example of the truism that Jews are just like everyone else, only more so.

ILW writes:

There is some truth in what Beth M. says. It is true that if you have discussed real business situations with your family, you have an advantage to an extent. But even with all the nurture in the world, sometimes it is a matter of processing information very rapidly. When you have a crisis, there is little time and problems need to be solved fast.

In business, quite often the problems you encounter are so novel and so unusual that there are no parallels. I remember this very thorny situation we found ourselves in. This related to a transaction in a tin pot African country that shall not be named. We had been discussing for a few hours how we could get ourselves out of a hole that we had dug ourselves into by my mistake. I made mistakes that could have cost my little company its solvency. It was an error of judgment on my part. I called in a business associate and friend whom I had known for a while. We were in Paris, where I tend to spend most of my time. This business associate and friend, who is French Jewish, has been known to me for many years. We had done some deals together and I wanted his input in a very informal sort of way. Normally with small companies, everything is always informal (which is the best thing about being an entrepreneur). He solved our thorny problem in five minutes. He had actually not done business in Africa before (bizarrely for a French businessman), but he somehow just put the pieces together and “had the answer.” I thanked him for saving my shirt and my solvency. It was an invaluable service he rendered for nothing in return.

He didn’t just spout his ideas faster, his brain was running faster as if on a turbo charge. Another Jewish business associate was once referred to by my former business partner as having a brain “bigger than a football field.” I thought it was an exaggeration, but it turned out to be true. It has to be said that these men are exceptional even by Jewish standards. They were not just good at the verbal skills, their mathematical skills were utterly outstanding.

I do think that many Jews I have done business with in the past had the ability to “think outside the box.” Indians, even when very bright, cannot seem to think outside set formulas. It is a weakness that I have as much as any other Indian.

Brandon F. writes:

Be wary of people who say “I’ve taken an IQ test recently” or the like. Mr. Indian living in the West may well have a high IQ but it is possible—especially since he didn’t know what kind of test—that he took one of many online IQ tests. These tests can be taken in 10 or 15 minutes and can be very flattering.

By the way, my IQ is 189 … I think. I am relatively certain. :-)

ILW writes:

On Jewish pursuit of liberal causes: I think we can all agree that there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom. The latter is a lot rarer than the former.

On Jewish political biases, I have little to add as this is a subject that has been debated so often on this site. I do think, however, that Jewish liberal fanaticism, particularly in America, was a function of Jewish suffering in the Pale of Settlement just before immigration to America. Once the memory of that fades away with new generations, the political biases will also change. I think Jews have a history in Europe that is unique and this creates a tendency to pursue certain causes. Political biases can remain very strong for a long time. Just look at the Irish in America (particularly the Kennedy family).

Also, look at how Indians in America, who have not suffered any persecution, and have had nothing but the best jobs in America, vote 90 percent Democratic. Seeing this, I can’t identify Jews as being uniquely insane. Your average Jewish American can point to some discrimination his family suffered as poor immigrants from Europe or persecution in Europe in generations prior to that. What has the Indian suffered? His parents came to America with college degrees and had milk, sugar and honey from day one. And they become champions of liberal causes.

Karl D. writes:

I find ILW’s remark about Indians being vain and believing they are very smart to be very amusing. There are a couple of gas stations and convenience stores in my neck of the woods that were purchased by Indian Sikhs a couple of years ago. They are anong the most vain, snobby, and coldest people I have ever come across. And they own convenience stores for God’s sake! I remember seeing the wife of one of the owners in my local library and she looked almost shocked to see me there. As if they were the only ones who read!

I have said in the past that the Indians are the new Jews. I will never forget going to Weil Cornell hospital in Manhattan for a doctor’s appointment a couple of years ago. A group of fresh young interns were being given the grand tour of the facilities. There were about a dozen of them. About six were Indian and the rest east Asian and Jewish. Back in the day, conventional wisdom for a single Jewish girl in New York City would be to find a nice Jewish doctor to marry. I wonder if that has now been changed to “Find a nice Indian doctor to marry”?

By the way, the doctor I wound up with was Indian and was quite good.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 20, 2012 03:26 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):