Before someone asks, yes, I am "Mensa material". I do IQ tests as a pastime. It's fun to watch shrinks stare in awe. So I could join them. As could, I'm certain, most people around here. Being in the 2% bracket isn't THAT difficult when you look at it. There are actually clubs out there with far tighter joining criteria. Also not really something I'd consider joining.
It isn't difficult to join. I mean, 50% of the population is below average intelligence and education. When you segment the rest up, you end up with a more focused test taker than the other handful of intelligent guys in the room. So unless you hang out regularly with the lower 50% in intelligence, you and most of your friends would probably be eligible.
I mean, let's be honest, why should I? Yes, it's fun to have a discussion with people who can think beyond next breakfast but it's no fun having them with people who consider themselves so "smart" and aloof to join a club that selects its members by intelligence. I mean, imagine you're good looking, would you want to join a club that only lets beautiful people join? Ponder what kind of self absorbed, shallow cunts such criteria attract. And then ponder whether you want to be part of that.
Mensa was started right after WW2, October 1, 1946. Television, cinema, media, culture was not like it is now. There were no cool internet billionaires. There were no movies showing how cool the nerds were if you just gave them a chance. You couldn't Facebook to find friends with your interests. Intelligence wasn't really part of the social fabric of the general population compared to today.
A high school might have a few HNICs (Head Nerds In Charge) who were beaten up, mocked, made fun of, and had their chess boards tipped over. Everyone else had probably been to war and/or in combat, and I'm going to assume most nerds didn't get that experience. They were isolated and alone. College wasn't like it is now when anyone can run up $100k in debt and join on ever lowering entrance requirements; not everyone could go into higher education in those days regardless of how smart they were. How were they going to hang out with people with their interests? Go to the bar with all the army guys talking about their experiences? Read comic books where pretty much the smart guys were all evil and beaten by the football-quarterback looking superhero? Go to a football game they might not have had an interest in?
People that tested in a particular bracket could join a group where there were other people like them. I don't think they were being snooty and laughing at everyone around them in the 1950s feeling superior. They weren't being shallow cunts who were the silicon valley hipsters of their day.
Mensa's constitution lists three purposes: "to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members".
Clearly a bunch of dicks.
And even more, ponder whether you want to spend at least part of your life with someone like that.
God forbid you want to spend time with someone you can talk to about things. This is why my primary measure of a partner is based on breast size and their understanding that a raised fist means to shut the hell up.
Either you'll have a completely broken person who snapped under the pressure of being the expected "pinnacle of intelligence", or you get the ultimate self-absorbed asshole, or a combination of both.
Or they're just some intelligent people who test well and get along fine with people and have learned how to handle social interactions?