As I’ve argued before, there are at least three major elites who control America: The popular (those who win hearts), the intelligentsia (those who win minds), and the rich (those who win wallets). These are three fairly orthogonal forms of power.

In this post, I will focus on the popular: the most worshiped people in America.

In 2005, millions of Americans voted for the greatest American of all time. Of the 100 Americans nominated by the public, only these had enough worshipers to make the top 25:

1. Ronald Reagan
2. Abraham Lincoln
3. Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. George Washington
5. Benjamin Franklin
6. George W. Bush
7. Bill Clinton
8. Elvis Presley
9. Oprah Winfrey
10. Franklin D. Roosevelt
11. Billy Graham
12. Thomas Jefferson
13. Walt Disney
14. Albert Einstein
15. Thomas Edison
16. John F. Kennedy
17. Bob Hope
18. Bill Gates
19. Eleanor Roosevelt
20. Lance Armstrong
21. Muhammad Ali
22. Rosa Parks
23. Orville & Wilbur Wright
24. Henry Ford
25. Neil Armstrong

A few observations:

Oprah is the only woman to make the top 18 most worshiped Americans. Oprah’s super-human brain size arguably gave her the smarts to become not only the richest African American of all time, but the most worshiped woman in the history of the World’s sole superpower, and by extension, the most powerful woman on the planet.

The IQs of the most worshiped Americans seem to range from about 70 (Elvis) to perhaps 170 (Bill Gates), suggesting the average IQ is about 120.

While an IQ of 120 is quite impressive compared to the U.S. mean of 97, it’s not especially high for the most worshiped Americans of all time. If we assume these people are about 5.4 standard deviations above the mean in a normalized distribution of popularity, and yet they’re only about 1.5 SD above the mean in IQ, it suggests the correlation between IQ and popularity is only 1.5/5.4 = 0.28.

Bill Gates more or less had to buy his way on the list which is kind of sad. If he hadn’t given so much of his own money to charity, I doubt he would be among the most popular Americans. This demonstrates how one form of power (money) can be traded for another (popularity), and how Bill Gates is still the class nerd trying to extra hard to fit in with the cool kids.

Blacks are over-represented. Despite being 13% of America, they are 16% of the most worshiped 25. If we limited the analysis to only the most worshiped living Americans, their over-representation would be even greater, and this despite the fact that blacks average lower IQs than other Americans. I suspect this is related to scholar J.P. Rushton’s theory that blacks evolved to reproduce prolifically: The the same traits that make blacks good at attracting mates (charisma, athletic talent, musical talent, social IQ, etc) also makes them good at attracting fame. I even suggested this to the great Rushton himself and he thought it was quite clever. Blacks may also get an extra boost in popularity from the pro-diversity media.

Although blacks are over-represented among popular elites, they are dramatically underrepresented in the two other major elite groups: The Rich and the Intelligentsia. Despite being 13% of America, blacks are only 0.25% of the 400 richest Americans, and only 2% of the most influential media pundits. So despite having a lot of popular power (including president Obama), overall blacks are still quite powerless in America.

Jews show the opposite profile. Despite being 2% of America, they are 36% of the 400 richest Americans and an astonishing 50% of the most influential media pundits (the intelligentsia). Yet when it comes to popular elites, their over-representation is much less extreme. There are very few Jews among the 25 most worshiped Americans of all time. There are likely two reasons for this:

1) Becoming popular is less dependent on IQ than becoming rich or becoming part of the intelligentsia, so high IQ Jews have less of an advantage when competing for raw celebrity status.

2) Jews probably don’t want to be in positions of visible power because it creates resentment; they prefer to let gentiles be the public face of power, while they wield influence through money and intellectual ideas. This may help explain why despite their enormous cultural and economic capital, and despite all their talents and gifts, there has never been a Jewish president.