Debt of the Gifted

I still can see my parents’ reaction on the day the government first declared that IQ scores were to be put on drivers’ licenses. As the speeches about duty to country and the ‘debt of the gifted’ went on, the color slowly drained from my mother’s face. My father clutched his phone in one hand and the other held a draft of the bill that would later become the Distributive Intelligence Act. This was the law that would empower the Federal Cohabitation Commission that would mandate the date Portia was even now still whining about over her lobster thermidor. I still remember Dad’s angry shout into the phone.

“It’s the return of Cyril Burt!”

My parents had a good idea of where things might go, and how bad they could get. So they walked me through a few tests, and showed me where to nudge my answers to not just be wrong, but plausibly wrong. The tests would be designed not just to measure intelligence, but to detect a mind so intelligent that it would want to keep itself hidden – to keep itself free.

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