The Nuremberg Trials gave psychologists the opportunity to conduct an in-depth investigation into the minds of the upper echelons of the Nazi Party, and as modern historians this permits greater insight into what constitutes a “senior Nazi” than we would have into almost any other regime in history. The scores, which are presented in tabular form below, show the Intelligence Quotient of 21 of the 24 defendants and, as the reader may see, all but one demonstrated above average levels of intelligence when we define average as the range between 90 and 110.
Note: the other three defendants’ IQs weren’t available at the base source, and their relative availability doesn’t suit my indolence.
As the reader may notice, a number of the Nuremberg defendants displayed intelligence well above the 95th percentile, with over a quarter of them meeting the modern-day requirements for Mensa admission.
Many people sympathetic to National Socialism infer from this that superior intelligence is correlated with views of this nature. That is not necessarily the case, however; I suspect if a cross-section of senior figures and their IQs of any contemporary Western government were taken, they would broadly comply with the pattern seen amongst National Socialists. Take Hjalmar Schacht for example, who scored highest of all the defendants; one would largely expect the foremost economists of a modern, industrial national to exhibit exceptional intelligence, with a particular aptitude for the matrix reasoning commonly found in IQ test papers.
Similarly, one might expect the foremost men of their respective military arms, Alfred Jodl (127) and Karl Doenitz (138), to exhibit superior intelligence based on the requirements of their roles.
Put simply, governments need capable individuals if they are to be successful, so by definition intelligent people will be found amongst any governing institution of a functional modern state.
I don’t conclude from this information any correlation between intellect and National Socialism per se. But I do, however, conclude a lack of correlation between extreme right-wing ideology and stupidity in the modern age.
The reason many modern analysts find the Nuremberg data so unsettling is because of this perception that people who hold extreme right-wing views, with or without racism and antisemitism, are profoundly unintelligent. But this perception itself is a logical fallacy because it fails to take into account the power of social pressure, conformity and the proclivity of intelligent people to adequately adopt prevailing social norms as a prerequisite of success.
Generally speaking, intelligent people are adept at identifying the social behaviours that will compliment their innate abilities in order to progress upwards through a career path. Indeed, even the vast majority of the population who have average intellectual abilities can recognise these, as they are fundamental to the way in which human society functions. The only exceptions to this pattern appear to be those with below-average intelligence, autistic people and the occasional maverick who possesses the rare combination of intelligence, eccentricity and low-level narcissism.
It therefore becomes obvious that the correlation between ideology and intelligence cannot be adequately drawn when social factors are taken into account, considering that there was almost no net social pressure against being a National Socialist in 1932. Liberal analysts should really be asking themselves the uncomfortable question of who amongst their intelligent colleagues would be a Nazi were it not for the blessing of social conformity?