The cognitive elite of a society, according to Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, are those having higher intelligence levels and thus better prospects for success in life. The development of a cognitive elite during the 20th century is presented in their 1994 book The Bell Curve. In this book, Herrnstein and Murray propose that the cognitive elite has been produced by a more technological society which offers enough high skill jobs for those with a higher intelligence to fill. They also propose that by removing race, gender or class as criteria the main criteria of success in academic and professional life is becoming primarily based on cognitive ability.
Differences in intelligence matter. For members of the cognitive elite to maintain otherwise is like the rich arguing that money does not matter. Differences in g affect the lives of individuals and families. They help shape the social order and limit our ability to reshape it.