Liberal arts strike again!
When I first heard of this idea about humility it was in the context of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in something he calls the master-slave morality, which is similar to what you just described (people on the top wanting everyone else to remain 'humble' for the 'good' of society).
Nietzsche says this is bullshit. He argues we are all capable to release immense levels of creativity through the 'will to power' (rising above the general herd instinct of the masses) and by living an unconventional lifestyle. However, VERY few people choose to do this. (According to Nietzsche it's only something like one person a century).
Nietzsche's philosophy is brilliant, but is also the most misunderstood of the many philosophers I have read. I'd highly recommend his books to anyone. On the Genealogy of Morality is a good one to start out with.
Your liberal arts friend and philosophy major, Amanda Hochstatter