Instapundit: We Need an IQ Test for Politicians


University of Tennesse Law prof Glenn Reynolds—the Instapundit—half-jokingly calls for an IQ test for politicians after witnessing the lack of knowledge among folks in Congress. His jumping-off point is the recent comments by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) that plainly showed she doesn't know what she's talking about when it comes to the gun magazines she wants to regulate so much. In describing magazines, DeGette said:

"I will tell you these are ammunition, they're bullets, so the people who have those now they're going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won't be any more available."

As Reynolds points out, "Um, ah . . . no. Completely wrong, in fact….Magazines aren't 'bullets.' They're, basically, metal boxes with springs. You fill them up with bullets, and put them in a gun." He continues:

DeGette's remark was akin to that staple of hippie parodies, the old fogey worried about people "shooting up marijuana" — an obvious mistake that made clear the fogeys didn't have a clue about the realities of what they feared.

It's an embarrassing admission of ignorance and incompetence.

But ignorance and incompetence are on regular display among our political class. Its members are good at what they do — but what they do, really, is raise money and win elections. There's no particular correlation between those skills and any other kind of competence. In fact, given their record of passing increasingly dumb laws, if there's any correlation at all, it's a negative one.

Reynolds notes that gun laws are hardly the only area of "regulation-by-dimness" and concludes

Politicians getting smarter on their own is probably too much to hope for. But maybe if voters wise up, a smarter crop of politicians will follow.

Read the whole thing at The New York Post.

And read Jacob Sullum's take on DeGette's uninformed comments from last week. A snippet:

The Denver Post notes that the audience "chuckled" after DeGette's remarks… and that Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, "responding as the audience was laughing, urged people who hadn't shot a gun to 'get to the facts,'" adding, "Let's be educated as we make this decision.'" DeGette's office says she "misspoke"—just like [Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.)] did when she described a barrel shroud, one of the assault-weapony firearm features she wants to ban, as "the shoulder thing that goes up."

McCarthy and DeGette are co-sponsors of the High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, so it is particularly galling that they clearly don't know much about the very things they want to ban or regulate.

More here.

NEXT: ATF Paid Brain-Damaged Man to Set Up Gun and Drug Deals

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  1. Someone should get a few of the actually intelligent politicians (regardless of political position) to voluntarily take some sort of aptitude test. It wouldn’t take many of those before people would start wondering how their politician would score and why he/she hadn’t taken the test.

    Of course, who administers and formulates the test is the $6 trillion question.

    1. You want to ban ‘violent’ video games?

      Question 1: Finish the following sentence:

      “Spoiler alert: Samus is a ____.”

      1. I know, I know, I know.

        1. Then you’ve proven you are a violent person that objectifies women and therefore are excluded from public debate on this subject. You are also required to complete a 4 month domestic violence course.

          1. You are also required to complete a 4 month domestic violence course.

            OK. How many times per day should I start beating my wife?

            1. Wife? You homophobic bigot. You’re being placed in a same sex marriage, where you will be the one being beaten daily.

              1. Ugh, not again.

                1. Samus is a Woman… Loved that game. Was profoundly suprised when, at the end, I found out.

      2. I only know the answer because of TV Tropes. But I guess that’s more than most politicians would know.

        1. You’re more deft at Googlery than they. Be proud. Buy yourself something nice.

    2. Obviously, only the Office of Aptitude Testing and Standards, of course.

      We have to make sure Top Men are overseeing the process, so there aren’t any mistakes, like mistakenly failing to notice my check for $5M and not approving Buffy and Chip to rule the universe.

      1. If the world didn’t wear bifocals and had vision like me, we could let the Office of the Censor administer the test.

        1. So when a politician fails the intelligence test, who gets to nail their hands and tongue onto the wall of the Forum? pleasbemepleasebemepleasebeme…

          1. The Censor’s designee. . .who would be you.


  2. Um, ah . . . no. Completely wrong, in fact.

    You fill a magazine with rounds, not bullets. Bullets are the projectile part of the round, if you filled up your magazines with bullets, nothing would happen when you pull the trigger.

    1. Where do clips come in on all this?
      I had a friend who was convinced that a “round” only referred to round, or circular, magazines.
      He was a dumbass.


        Basically, it’s the word that liberals use to talk about magazines when they’re at cocktail parties. You can toss them aside when you’re done with them, which leads these people to assume that magazines are disposable as well.

        A few minutes on Google would show the difference, but then again we are dealing with emotions, not facts. Clip = scary thing that helps someone kill me again and again and again.

      2. I’ve heard the you tubes have millions of clips. That’s why I stay off the you tubes and only go on the innernet tubes.

        And don’t even get me started on how many stores have magazine racks right out there in the open where anybody can easily get their hands on them.

        1. Soon we’ll be charging you by the bit for that innertubing (not that I know what a bit is, but it sounds technology-y).

    2. you know, I could cut her some slack with bullets vs rounds, but bullets vs magazines? Sad reality is, few of her supporters noticed the mistake.

      1. Bullet vs round is a bit pedantic, since you’re still putting a bullet in the gun when you put a round in, you’re just putting in some other stuff too. So they are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

        1. Not really. That depends on what you mean by putting a round into a gun. If referring to chambering, it’s technically not correct. A round is chambered, not a bullet.

          1. A round contains a bullet.

            1. Then by that logic you can chamber a primer, a casing, and a charge.

              1. “Then by that logic you can chamber a primer, a casing, and a charge.”

                Um, you are. Every time you chamber a round.

                It’s nice to see you realize why you were wrong.

                1. well then, touche

            2. What about a blank round, Mr. Smartypants?

              1. Unclear whether that was at me or AD, but I didn’t say shit about bullets.

          2. But a round could also be a shot loaded in a muzzle loader. So to be extra pedantic, you should probably say “cartridge”. But calling it a bullet is quite common. And I don’t care if you call a magazine a clip either.

    3. That’s how the power-packs on my rail-gun work. She’s just ahead of her time.

      1. You can recharge those – they just don’t have them in cars yet.…..lse-rifles

    4. He specifically said he was putting it in words that politicians would understand.

  3. Unfortunately most of the population is borderline retarded and the ones who aren’t don’t want to be in politics.

  4. That picture makes her look like she’s about to go on a TV quiz show. And lose big.

    1. Too bad she’s an elected politician, which means we lost big.

    2. That’s not Tracey Ullman?

    3. Ooh, ooh, make candidates be contestants on Wipeout!

  5. But ignorance and incompetence are on regular display among our political class

    the professor sees this is a flaw in the political class, but election results show voters do not share his conclusion. What was it about getting the govt we deserve?

    Here is one to piss everyone off, explaining the different kinds of ‘Good’ paternalism by the government. Also hello, been lurking for a while now.

    1. Hey, ZR! That was yet another brilliant essay about crushing the human, and individual liberties under the authoritarian boot of government. Cass Sunstein must really look nostalgically back at the days of slavery. Of course, since he is a Harvard man, he will never be a slave, only a master.

      1. As enraging as that little essay is, it’s still better than Bloomberg. Although I think the gap between suggesting and mandating is much smaller than what Sunstein thinks it is.

    2. Perhaps you haven’t been lurking long enough then if you don’t know to give a warning that you are posting a Cass Sunstein link – some of us are trying to eat here.

      1. No better memorable intro then making someone vomit. Now you will never forget me.

    3. Hello ZR, welcome to the den of Republican apologists or Democrats in disguise, depending on your viewpoint.

      Do you have any strong views on alt-text, sci-fi, or pizza?

    4. Fuck you. Go away, blog’s full. Fuck you.

      1. Warty you know full well ZR is allowed in if he kills one of the regulars in a cage fight

        1. Cage fight? I thought it was supposed to be on a deserted planet with oddly light boulders?

        2. I vote we let him figt Tony or Tulpa. As “entertaining” as their posts are, watching them get beaten to death with ZR’s bare fists would be even better.

      2. Charmer.

  7. What difference, at this point, would it make?

    1. Perhaps Hillary can spend her retirement hosting seminars for Congressional democrats on political evasiveness and saying as little as possible as convincingly as possible.

      Who am I kidding? She’ll spend it preparing for her 2016 presidential run.

  8. The best part was when an old guy in the audience asked her how he’s supposed to defend himself without a gun, and she said “you’d probably be dead anyway.”

    1. She slipped up. The political class actually feels that way about us… they really don’t care about ordinary people. She just was not supposed to let that out, because the people need to believe pols actually care.

    2. “So you want to turn ‘probably’ into ‘definitely’? Got it.”

      1. It’s better to definitely die while clutching a phone and waiting for the cops to get there than to maybe live with a gun in your hand.


  9. If you are on one side of Guam and you shoot off all your magazines at once, will the island capsize?

    1. Ya know, if it included a complete run of NatGeo from the 50’s to around 1991, with a set of Reader’s digest for offset and ballast, with a slew of coffee table broadglossy pubs such as Look or large format Life, it just maaaaaay be possible.

  10. Those poor pants.

  11. I could imaginesome unintended consequences. It’s possible their stupidity is preventing them from doing more harm. Do we really want a bunch of evil geniuses running the government or a bunch of incompetents that are easy to subvert?

    1. Unintended consequences like loaded questions designed to ban political opponents from running for office?

  12. The real fact is, lots of really smart people believe really stupid things. The best you can hope for is a politician with some knowledge of whatever particular thing they’re about to make a law concerning.

    1. ^This. I know a person who has a PHD and could talk circles around people about his respective subject and would then go off to cast spells with witches.

      1. Nicolas Maduro doesn’t have a PHD!

    2. How about a politician who cares to actually study and learn about whatever particular thing they’re legislating on?

      1. Confirmation bias would just make them able to speak about the subject and still have dumb opinions with correct terminology.

        1. That would still be a step up and put them into an arena where you could actually argue with them, instead of beating your head against the wall trying to figure out what the hell they’re talking about.

          1. To them this is a feature, not bug.

      2. Are you crazy? There’s no time for that, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!!!11!!!!

        1. yeah, it’s for teh childrenz

    3. I think Rothbard had a rule for this.

      1. Well then, he should pay me some royalties for stealing my idea.

    4. ^^THIS^^

      Intelligence is not wisdom. I would rather have someone with average intelligence and a sense of humility and wisdom than some super genius like Cass Sunstein who is convinced he can run the world.

  13. maybe if voters wise up, a smarter crop of politicians will follow

    Not likely to happen. Most voters are low information voters who either vote for MOAR FREE SHIT or are easily manipulated into voting based on single issues such as abortion or gay marriage.

    Maybe what we really need is an IQ test before being allowed to register to vote. Yeah, yeah, I know: RACIST!!11!! … somehow*.

    *I once half jokingly said that to someone who actually had the lack of self awareness to accuse me of being racist. I replied “So what you’re saying is black people inherently have a lower IQ than whites? And you’re accusing me of being racist?”

    “Blah blah something about education, socioeconomic status, blah blah.”

    “Your realize that IQ tests are tests of basic cognitive function, and have little to do with one’s socioeconomic status or level of educational success, right?”

    “…Uhm… err… fuck you!!”

    1. Maybe what we really need is an IQ test before being allowed to register to vote.

      Won’t matter. Again you run into the smart people with stupid beliefs problem.

  14. It’s an embarrassing admission of ignorance and incompetence.

    We’re talking about people who are incapable of being embarrassed.
    Embarrassment requires self-awareness and introspection.

  15. Ignorance is a mark of pride among liberals. It makes them objective.

    1. Facts, schmacts. You can use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true.

  16. An IQ test for politicians would probably go like an IQ test for police officers: If you score too high, you’re not eligible.

  17. It’s better to definitely die while clutching a phone and waiting for the cops to get there than to maybe live with a gun in your hand.

    If you’re standing on your front porch holding a gun when the cops arrive, they are immediately going to shoot you, so it’s pretty much a wash.

    1. It doesn’t even have to be a gun. If you are standing on your porch with any object that maybe possibly could be mistaken for a gun, the cops are likely to shoot you.…..ay/274692/

      Conor Friedersdorf Apr 5 2013, 6:00 AM ET

      police line do not cross full.png

      On a Sunday afternoon, Douglas Zerby, 35, left a Long Beach bar feeling too drunk to drive home, walked to a nearby house, and sat on the stoop. While waiting for his friend to come home, he played with the nozzle from a nearby garden hose. A neighbor, mistaking it for a gun, called police. The officers who arrived on the scene did not announce their presence, identify themselves, or tell the seated man to drop what they believed to be a gun. They did shoot and kill him, later claiming that he pointed the hose nozzle at them.

      Might as well have the gun.

      1. Or if you make a ‘sudden movement’, even with nothing in your hand.

  18. No. You don’t want to have smarter people with all power of you.

    You want to have less power in the hands of those who are in government, regardless of how smart they are.

    1. This. Instead oif trying to find smarter people, we should be removing power from elected idiots.

  19. “Politicians getting smarter on their own is probably too much to hope for. But maybe if voters wise up, a smarter crop of politicians will follow.”

    I think the former is way more likely than the latter. Likelihood hovering aroung 0, of course.

  20. Proglodytes only care about intelligence when a beauty pagent contestant
    slips up and reveals she doesn’t know the subject matter being asked. This congress critter is an ugly fat cow in good standing with the right team so as a member of the herd it is not important or as news worthy if she is ignorant as opposed to the SC beauty queen getting it wrong.

  21. This retarded bitch has been in Congress since 1997. And that sentence, along with the picture from this post, is the best argument for anarchy I’ve ever seen.

  22. DeGette’s the rep from CO-1, which encompasses basically the city/county of Denver. It is a VERY safe Dem district in which she is not realistically challenged by anyone.

    To me, this is the problem with engineering safe districts. The incumbent doesn’t have to prove themselves, or defend their votes. They should be forced to fight tooth and nail every 2 years, and get thier asses thrown out should they blow it – like DeGette did.

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