"I'm for the Achiever!"


I have just about reached the end of my tolerance for the way our society now seems to have sympathetic concern only for the misfit, the pervert, the drug addict, the drifter, the chronic criminal, the under-achiever. It seems to me we have lost touch with reality and become warped in our attachments.

I feel it is time for someone like me to stand up and say, in short, "I’m for the upperdog!"

I’m for the achiever — the one who sets out to do something and does it; the one who recognizes the problems and opportunities at hand, and endeavors to deal with them; the one who is successful at his immediate task because he is not worrying about someone else’s failings; the one who doesn’t consider it "square" to be constantly looking for more to do, who isn’t always rationalizing why he shouldn’t be doing what he is doing; the one, in short, who carries the work of his part of the world squarely on his shoulders.

It is important to recognize that the quality of any society is directly related to the quality of the individuals who make it up. Therefore, let us stop referring naively to  creating a "great" society. It is enough at this stage of our development to aspire to create a decent society. And to do so, our first task is to help each individual be decent unto himself and in his relationship with other individuals.

We will never create a good society, much less a great one, until individual excellence and achievement are not only respected but encouraged. That is why I am for the upperdog —the achiever, the succeeder.

—Miller Upton, President of Beloit College. 


March 1973

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September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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