Screwdrivers and hammers. Both are tools that accomplish similar things, they just work a bit differently. There are strengths and weaknesses of each, and both can be used to create something epic. But nobody brags about their hammer or claims that it’s the only thing that can build a house. You wouldn’t say “Yeah, the house I just built is beautiful, but check out this hammer!” Focusing on the tools instead of on the process and the product is missing the point.
Equipment is equipment and not moral high ground. Barbell Justice Warriors make it seem like you can’t test whether or not someone is fit unless you put giant pieces of rubber on a pole thing and see how fast they can lift it. The cinder-block lifting, “I train in a farmhouse in the snow of Siberia without equipment so shut up you crybabies” crew is the CrossFit equivalent of “When I was your age, I had to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways!!!”
How you use the tools and what you create with them is what matters. I get where both sides are coming from – barbells are a great tool, a test of fitness and have served as a centerpiece in CrossFit for the last few years. The “cinder blocks and sandbags” crew believes you can do a lot with a little, and that huge fitness doesn’t require a huge bank account.
But all this banter about barbell vs. other pieces of equipment is misdirection. It’s not the about the means, it’s about the process and the product. Decide what you want and then use the right tools (all of them) to get it.