I was watching Bill O’reilly interview Kristen Powers (who I adore) on Fox News tonight and once again he was complaining about how unrealistic Bernie Sander’s socialist vision was, but then he made a good point about the authoritarianism of socialism.

He said that had he been British, he never would have become a successful talk show host, because they gave all the kids a test at 16 and if you do poorly, you’re not allowed to go to college and are confined to the working class.  O’reilly said he would have flunked the test because was a thug at 16.

I believe the test Bill was referring to is the 11+ exam, which I assume people took at 11, not 16.  But O’reilly’s point still stands.

According to the internet, Bill O’reilly scored an astonishing 1585 on the older much harder version of the SAT. equivalent to an IQ of nearly 170, but I saw an episode of his show where O’reilly laughed at the fictitious number as an example of why you should never believe what you read on the Internet. He said his actual SAT scores were nowhere near that high.  Indeed they were low enough that he attended the same college as Howard Stern (who also claims to have unimpressive SATs) and who O’reilly remembers because Stern was the only student on campus taller than he was.

But years later, O’reilly realized that if he wanted to be taken seriously in the elitist world of media, he would have to get a better degree.  He became a student at Harvard, and the fact that he, like Howard Stern, dominated extremely competitive and verbal industries, indicates high IQ, so why the mediocre test scores?

Is the SAT biased against kids from working class schools?  Probably more than official IQ tests are.  Another factor could be that if IQ becomes increasingly genetic as we get older (as some studies suggest), tests taken at 17 or younger do not fully reflect genetic ability.  A final possibility is that these men are just not that smart.  Although Stern has many signs of high IQ (super rich, Jewish, super tall) his scatological humor indicates very low IQ.and after September 11th, he recklessly encouraged the U.S. to bomb any Muslim country at random, at least according to Bill Maher.

Bill O’reilly seems very smart sometimes and also has signs of high IQ (very rich, funny, Harvard degree, very tall), but his small looking cranium, extreme patriotism and disdain for Noam Chomsky, indicates a closed mind.  Also eminent scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins considers him unintelligent, so that carries some weight.

But regardless of how smart O’reilly and Stern might be, I’m glad their unimpressive test scores did not prevent them from reaching the top of American life, because that’s what makes America so fascinating. The market decides who is king.