That is, when we are considering how low their corporate (and individual) intelligence quotient is.
Most of us recall from the days of IQ tests that the “normal” human intelligence, taking into account culture and education, is 100. (Genius level is argued: some use 145, others 155, and so on. “Borderline intellectual functioning” is 70-85, and severe or profound mental retardation is found with IQs of less than 35.
Supposedly, the US average is 102. That is for Americans in general. Texas, according to another study, is exactly 100. Congress’ level? Read on!
But Congress? According to a 2012 Weekly World News story, citing a Harvard University study, Congress is subnormal. “The Kennedy School of Government did a longitudinal study over the last 30 years (1982-2012) that looked at the average IQ of members of Congress – the Senate & House of Representatives. The study found that, despite the many advanced degrees from prestigious universities, and despite the fact that many in Congress are millionaires, the average IQ of U.S. Representatives is 101. The average IQ of U.S. Senators, is surprisingly, even lower at 98.” (I’ve been unable to find a copy of the original study online.)
Based on events since then, a new study is needed. Just how stupid IS Congress, eight years later: three more of Obummer, four of The Donald, and now five months of Uncle Joe? BUT a continuous reign of Empress Nancy (Pelosi) and the “Emperor’s New Clothes (or should I say, Laurel and Hardy) act of McConnell and Schumer?
Of course, even though there are extremely intelligent members (then and now) like Dr. Ron Paul and his son Senator (Dr.) Rand Paul, we also have people like the infamous Hank Johnson, asking if stationing too many Marines on Guam might cause the island to tip over and sink.
And MAYBE the ridiculous nature of Louis Gohmert of Texas. (Or is it just incredibly dry humor?) and his question a few days ago, of a US Forest Service senior official, reported by The Hill. Is it possible for the US Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management to change the moon’s orbit or earth’s orbit to reduce global climate change? The USFS lady reportedly said she’d have to get back to the representative on that. All the news stories claimed Gohmert was serious. Maybe, but it could also be dry humor. For that matter, so could Johnson’s.
But however smart or stupid SOME individual members of this “esteemed” institution may be, or have been, in the past, it is clear that AS AN INSTITUTION, both houses are incredibly DUMB.
Which brings me to one of my favorite pseudo-intellectual/philosophical concepts. in Paul Dickson’s The New Official Rules: Maxims for Muddling Through to the Twenty-First Century (1989) it is called it “Carlisle’s Rule,” and that name may refer to the Scots historian, Thomas Carlyle.
“Carlisle’s Rule. To find the I.Q. of any committee oR commission, first determine the I.Q. of the most stupid member and then divide that result by the number of members.”
I have, when faced with particularly STUPID governmental bodies of elected or appointed officeholders, changed that to divide the lowest IQ of anyone in the group by the number of hands or feet – and once to the number of toes. (Which would usually be the same as the number of fingers, but “toes” is so much more evocative, don’t you agree?)
Humans in large groups ARE stupid. It is a matter of the lowest common denominator of mental skills: digesting information, reasoning rationally, controlling emotions, and making sound judgments and decisions.
This is one reason that finding someone guilty SHOULD always be based on a unanimous decision of the 12 people on a jury. This is also a reason (I believe) that the Founding Fathers put so many decisions dependent on a supermajority. (Too bad that doesn’t work, eh?)
Gareth points out that a well-known and astute 19th Century philosopher and obser of Congress answered this a long time ago. “Suppose you were an idiot, andsuppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” — Mark Twain
And perhaps it does.
For I fear the real answer to the question in my headline is simple. There IS NO LIMIT on just how low Congress can go. Whether we are talking intelligence levels or anything else.