I'm not sure I like the title of the previous post. I agree with everything I said there (though maybe my digs against the military may have been in poor taste), except that the problem I think is less about hierarchical thinking, and more about authoritarian thinking, thinking that values wealth, power, and prestige higher than intelligence, creativity, and character.
I don't have a problem with designating certain qualities or types of behavior as being either inferior or superior. There are legitimate distinctions of value. There is right and wrong. Good and bad. Behavior worth emulating and behavior worth eliminating. You could say those are human made judgments, and are thus relative, but we couldn't have an ethical system without them, and I think that having some standard of morality is a vital component of any civilized society.
I think that there ARE superior and inferior people, but what makes a person superior has nothing to do with academic achievements or financial success or genetic determinism, and has everything to do with character.
Some people are born having more advantages than others, having greater health, beauty, strength, intelligence, and better opportunities in life, but anyone can improve their character. Everyone has the opportunity to become a more ethical person, a more disciplined person, a happier, and more authentic person. Character development is truly an equal opportunity for all.
I'm not opposed to achievement. Or against those who aspire to academic or financial success. I am not opposed to the rich, or to those aspiring to be rich and successful in their careers. Some people have more of a need to jump through hoops than others, to win awards and medals and praise, to be publicly recognized for their achievements. There's nothing wrong with that. It's not really my thing, but if that's your thing, by all means go for it. I just don't think that those things are a true measure of a person's worth.
And I think it's wrong to look down on others who do not share your level of ambition. It is wrong to have a low opinion of someone because they do not have a degree, or do not have a high paying job. If they don't have a problem with their station in life, you shouldn't either.
Be concerned with yourself. If you decided to get a degree, and are happy with your decision to do so, there is no reason to judge others who did not aspire to do the same thing as you. For someone to imagine that one job is better than another, simply because of the higher status and higher pay, is really missing the point, that ultimately what matters most is a person's happiness, quality of life, and peace of mind...the rest is of trivial importance.
A person's level of education, employment, and income, also known as their socioeconomic status, does not define the worth of the whole person.
It is a mistake to suggest that someone with a college degree is a superior person to someone without a college degree.
Why? Because the last I checked there is no such thing as a degree for comprehensive human excellence, character, wisdom, and enlightenment. There is not a degree for being a polymath or renaissance man or an enlightened sage. There is not a degree for being a good person or a happy person, nor is there a degree for being a superior person.
But people ARE different. People are not all equal, in the sense that people are not all the same. There are differences of personality, intelligence, creativity, knowledge, and skill. People have different interests, different talents, different strengths and weaknesses. And yes there are better schools with better teachers offering a better education. There is a difference between Harvard and the local small town community college. There is a difference between someone with a BS in Physics and someone having a PhD in Physics. Just as there are real differences between the level of skill of amateur baseball players and professional baseball players.
I'm not denying that there are different levels of skill and talent. Not everyone is equally skilled or talented. Not everyone can be a doctor or a lawyer, because not everyone is temperamentally or intellectually suited for it. But achieving mastery in one area, or even in several areas, does not mean that you have achieved mastery in all areas.
No one is superior at all things. Someone may be a superior craftsman but an inferior businessman. Someone may be a superior teacher but an inferior counselor. Someone may be a superior musician but an inferior manager. Someone could have a superior intellect, while at the same time totally neglecting their own health. And someone could hypothetically be superior at any one of those things, and yet be an inferior husband or father. Could be extremely intelligent, but not a very nice person. They could be extremely successful in their line of work, while at the same time in their personal life may be extremely greedy, dishonest, unfriendly, and unkind.
Degrees are entirely academic, skill specific, and job specific. Having a law degree, may suggest that you have a superior knowledge of the law, but does not guarantee that you are lawful or ethical, nor does it assure your allegiance to the principles of truth and justice. There is a difference between what you do for a living and the life you actually live. Much of your life may revolve around your job, but that is not the whole story. You are more than your job. You are more than your income. You are more than your possessions. You are more than your education and degrees or lack thereof. You are more than your personal history. You are not just what you have done, but also what you think, what you say, and how you treat people day to day, whether you are at work, at the store, at a park, or walking down the street.
Having a degree, doesn't make you a superior person, it just means that you are highly skilled and knowledgeable in one specific area. You may be a superior doctor or historian or architect, but at the same time you may be a complete failure in some other area of your life. In other words, being good at your job or having a higher status job does not necessarily make you a better person, a happy person, or a superior person.
Whereas someone who works as a cashier, may not have a very challenging or materially rewarding job, but maybe the quality of their life outside of work makes up for it. Maybe their priority is to their family or their religion, or maybe they have a number of outside hobbies that enrich their lives. Maybe they are a talented artist or musician, but they have no interest in making a career out of it, are content not making a lot of money, not out of laziness, but because they put their priorities on other things that perhaps cannot be quantified in an objective manner.
My whole point is that despite our differences everyone is good at something. No one is superior at everything, or inferior at everything. And being a superior person should primarily be defined by such things as character and quality of life, not by degrees, job titles, or income.