Every one of us is entitled to more things than one, and sometimes, we take them for granted. However, falling into the depths of reverse entitlement is another topic entirely, and it may lead to uncalled actions and horrifying results. Bill Stierle and Tom look back once again to the violent riot at Capitol Hill on January 6 and how reverse entitlement played a massive role in this unfortunate moment in US history. They go deep on how literalists may have been influencing them all this time, and why these two forces will forever challenge any ideology and philosophy that go against them. Justice, culture, and equality are up on what may be their greatest challenge ever.
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The Alarming Dangers Of Reverse Entitlement
Bill, we set up at the end of our last episode, which was about the literalist that there is a close tie to reverse entitlement. I’m excited to talk and explore that because I don’t think that everyone is aware of what drove a lot of the people at the Capitol to do some of the things they did or one of the things that drove them to it.
The hardest part about our last discussion about the literalist on taking something literally and then once they take it their way, “This is the way I think every other person should take this.” That’s what the literalist does is saying, “I’m taking this literally.” It makes it hard to either have perspective or to tell a joke about something without offending somebody. When the literalist comes into play, it becomes not fun because as soon as there’s one complaint, there’s the belief that, “I am going to piss off other people because this person said this thing.”
Many comedians do not do the college circuit anymore. They don’t do the college circuit because their brand of humor or things is going to offend somebody on campus, whether it’s liberal or conservative. What happens is all you go to do is take a loud version of a group of students and then they get to cancel and disempower this person that’s on “their campus,” instead of going like, “This person meets certain needs of ours and if you’d like to attend this thing, great. For those of you who don’t want to attend these things, then don’t attend these things.” Guessing that Jerry Seinfeld is going to do this, Chris Rock is going to do this and Bill Maher is going to say this, and we invited him to this because there is a good, great or larger part of the population that’s in agreement with this funny view set.
Some of you that are going to Berkeley might not want to have Bill Maher on here, and you’re going to make a noise about that because he didn’t do this thing. He doesn’t seem like he’s your cup of tea, but it’s not in alignment with having different voices come on at different times. What’s happening is the concept of the cancel culture that you and I talked about a little bit. What does “canceling” mean? I’m entitled and my voice has more weight than your voice. My voice has such importance to it and this thing is so wrong from their viewpoint, I am going to make noise and get other people to march, speak up, make a difference on this and we’re going to push on this issue. What winds up happening is that there’s the constant threat that a small issue can turn into a big issue very quickly. A small truth could become a bigger truth when it’s just a small truth
If many of these people believe that the election was stolen, if they believed that narrative, then you can understand how they’d be so angry.
You can empathize with, “You were fed this message. Certain other people in leadership did not deny the message. Other number of people supported the message.” If they got elected to leadership and voted or were a part of my party, there must be something there.
That contributes to them feeling entitled. It’s interesting because people from the more conservative side of the political spectrum often talk about entitlements as a bad thing. Entitlements with the government are bad like Welfare, Social Security, Medicare and some of these things. Entitlements are handouts from the government. It means that the government has too much power and all that stuff but now, they’re saying, “I’m entitled to go storm the Capitol because something is going on here that shouldn’t be going on. If I don’t do something about it, who will?”
All you’ve got to do is get a husband and wife talking about that all day, watch One Fox News. Both of them are in agreement and they’re bantering themselves back and forth and they say, “We have to the Capitol. They need our help there.” “The president is outside. We’re listening to him.” “Listen to all these other people reinforcing this president’s message. They need our help. These bad people, Mike Pence included have got to go and it’s okay if we do violence.”
Let’s suppose we talk about a victim. Each of us as human beings has had a loss. Small, medium, and large losses. As soon as we start pointing out a story of somebody having a victim or a terrible experience, a human being does this sentence, “I see that. Do you want to hear my victim story? Let me tell you my victim story.” It becomes, who’s the victim? I’m the victim. This is how the, “I’m the victim and listen to my victim story. My victim story is worse than your victim story.” I’m looking sideways and go like, “That’s not a debate. There are two victims’ stories.”
There is the victim of the loss of the middle class, which is different than the victim story of job and employment suppression in people of color. Those are different victim stories. What winds up happening as the brain doesn’t talk about them separately. It talks about them in the same. My need for justice and fairness wasn’t met. Therefore, I am entitled to justice and fairness. Justice and fairness look like I get to break into the Capitol. Fairness looks like I get to put my feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. “This is my desk,” the guy says. It’s like, “The need for fairness and justice isn’t quite working out in the correct perspective here. It’s not your desk. You didn’t run. You weren’t appointed. You didn’t work with. You didn’t follow the Rule of Law like she did to get her spot. She’s the one who worked on getting her career to be the speaker the way she got it to be.”The cancel culture movement can be so harsh that it can turn a small issue into a big one. Click To Tweet
This explains why somebody would stride prominently in front of somebody’s cell phone camera carrying the speaker of the House’s lectern.
That’s an entitlement piece. I have this because my voice is equal to her voice. It is equal from a voting perspective. She only gets one vote and you only have one vote. She has a set of words that she’s going to say to let people know, “Vote for me because I’m in alignment with your words, as well as the complexity of the American system of one thing meets one need for a person and it doesn’t meet the need for another person. Whereas this other person gets their need met and that’s a little bit about what the give and take are.” Regrettably, the relationship between the literal mind and the entitlement mind causes people to say literally, the president said, “Go down to the Capitol,” and that he was going to be there.
He said, “You’ve got to be strong if you’re going take your government back. You’ve got to show strength.” What’s been a bit frustrating to me is to see certain people on social media saying, “Show me the words. Show me where the president side of this. Show me where he said, ‘Go break into the Capitol and arrest Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi.’ Show me where he did that, and then I’m willing to see that he incited violence.” It doesn’t have to be literal. It doesn’t have to be like that. The words that the president said matter even if they are not literal. You’ve got to look at this from a bigger picture, don’t you?
It’s a physiological thing. Not only do words matter but the absence of some words matters. It allows the person to fill in. They looked all around for writing from Hitler to his generals about setting up concentration camps. They looked all over the place for anything written. Was there any written command? Did Hitler start this? Did he say anything specific? The answer was no. He didn’t say it directly, literally, at least from the historical standpoint but in private, he would say, “We’ve got this problem over here,” then the literalist says, “I need to fix that problem.”
Things happen and he doesn’t condemn. It’s what you don’t say that also has an impact. It’s also the combination of many things. The president may have said it. Rudy Giuliani may have said it at that same speech. Some other speakers said, “When you combine them all, this serves to tee up the ball and for the crowd there. It’s inviting them to come to take a swing in it.”
Each one of those people has a perspective of boosting dopamine, cortisol and adrenaline inside the listener, the purchaser. They were purchasing the message. Donald Trump Jr. says, “This little small thing.” Rudy Giuliani says, “This other small thing. Let’s do a trial by combat.”
Those are not what Rudy Giuliani said. There’s not a lot of ambiguity there. What does combat mean?
The weird part of it was one of the congressmen got up and said, “When the president said to go down there, it’s nothing more than political hyperbole.” I’m going like, “Not in that setting.” If you were in the middle of Salt Lake City and said, “Let’s go down there,” we would take it as hyperbole because they’re not going to just, “Let’s go down there.” You can say, “What I mean to say is let’s get in there is for you to contact your Congressman or your Senator to get there because we’re not flying there or when we are not walking there.”
The tempt to minimalization communication is disheartening because the literalist goes, “Everybody knows this hyperbole.” The entitled person says, “This is my calling card to get my need for fairness and justice met.” There’s the physiological shift from one need to another. That’s not what they’re talking about. It’s like, “It wasn’t literal.” It was from the perspective of entitled, fairness, justice and election integrity because they’re not embodying the truth or getting messages of truth.
I feel extremely disheartened and exasperated when it looks like we’re not going to have a straight and honest talk about the election numbers for about a year unless Donald Trump says, “Listen, everybody, I now see and I was provided definitive evidence that Joe Biden had this number of votes in these states, and the information that I was given was incorrect. I was given this information. People told me these messages, but I want to let everybody know that those things are not true. I found out my team did its research and we came up with the best answer. We found out the people that were giving me mixed messages and how that all got out of hand.” Is he going to say any of that? No. That’s why it’s going to take a year initially to get back to the truth regarding the election numbers.The absence of words still matters because it allows the person to fill in the gaps. Click To Tweet
I wonder how long it’s going to take to get back to the truth for all these people that stormed the Capitol. These people are going to face some very real consequences in a way that never faced consequences before being a supporter of the president.
The consequences are going to be dealt out in the following way. The FBI shows up at the thing and says, “We have your picture here. You’re going to get 1 or 2 years in jail. This is what the charges are going to be. We’re going to haul you down through it. By the way, you seem like a good person. Do you know anybody else that was there because anything else that you post or anything positive things that you post will look good at you before you get to trial in the next year or two?” They’re going to be like, “What do I need to do to get out of jail?” Turn in my neighbors, turn in the worst doctors and all that stuff is Americans against Americans, but also to try to find out who are the primary feeders of these messages.
Even if they do come to a different understanding, express remorse, there are things that are going to happen. A lot of them are going to be convicted felons. They’re going to be on the no-fly list for a long time to come. Talk about not wanting to have your freedoms taken away. They can’t be going to New York from California for a weekend event. How are you going to do that?
They can’t move around the nation. China is doing that social behavior measuring over surveillance and data tracking on their people. That’s way scarier than this one is. This one is you happen to get caught. You’re now going to lose your car for a week or travel for a year because you’re a fifteen-year-old. What you did with your fifteen-year-old mindset was break into the Capitol building. I tend to put my need for humor into our show, but if we’re being compassionate and empathetic is that when the cheerleader is on the sideline, we’re trying to get the fans to get inspired, the fans get riled up. Why? It’s to cheer for their team, have a collective experience of winning, play by the rules at a basketball game, and put talent in skill against talent and skill. That’s what we look to do. This makes it interesting because you’re not going to win. Most sports teams, except for one, when the Super Bowl loses on their way there. There are 32 teams and only one of them gets to be the champion at the end of the year if they get to that game. Meanwhile, there were eight games that to me looked like Super Bowl quality.
Often, one of the best games that are not the Super Bowl happens on the way to. It never was like, “That was the Super Bowl.” The winner of that was going to win and run the rest in a walk. That happens a lot. I remember a couple of years ago when the New England Patriots won in 2018, that was not the game I hoped it would be. It was a letdown. I wanted Drew Brees and Tom Brady to play each other in the Super Bowl. That was the year that New Orleans should have been there for it wasn’t for a no pass interference.
Notice that fairness and justice showed up in our conversation. That’s what the bias validating mind does. It looks for that piece and the entitlement. For many years, there has been an assault on poor people. There’s been immediate support, small seeds and messages of, “These people are getting your tax dollars.” The reality is we’re taking tax dollars to shore up the weakest among us. We’re putting them through hoops. We’re showing them a path of welfare but at the same time, the assault there was literally, “What are they using that money for? They’re using that money to buy a refrigerator?” I’m going like, “They’re using the money to buy a refrigerator.” I would like that American to have a refrigerator. I would like them not to go without a refrigerator. “What are they going to put in it? Food?” “Yes. They’re going to put food in it. I’m interested in that putting food in it.”
If I’m living in this rich country, I’d like to take some of my money, give it to that person and let somebody else handle it so that they have a foundation of stability, certainty and experience of life instead of toiling with somebody on their neck, standing on their foot, or tying one hand behind their back. It is exasperating. The entitlement mindset does is it creates a series of messages that says, “This person is entitled. They’re bad.” Reverse entitlement is it shifts over to say, “Not Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter.” That’s an entitlement sentence. The entitlement is life is to be treated equally. Over here, life isn’t being treated equally. There needs to be work on that group of individuals to have them see that all lives matter. That’s unsettling because you’ve got to stay with the fight of helping keep biases and in our belief structures to get hijacked because they can in a second. Tom, what are your thoughts about identity? Can you see how this fueling of identity got riled up in these things?
It did and it feeds into reverse entitlement, as the case may be. If you’ve watched some of the videos from that day on January 6th, 2021 at the Capitol, so many of them are so unsettling but there is one in particular that you can hear some of these protestors who started out as peaceful protestors, but eventually yelling at the Capitol police and saying, “President Donald Trump invited me. We are allowed to be here. We’re allowed to go into the building.” This was the messaging. You can hear them voicing this very strong belief, “I’m invited. I’m allowed to be here.”
The thing that comes into the person’s mind is, “We’re going to go down there. We’re going to let your representatives know that we are here.” Basically saying your voice is going to be heard. That person trying to get past the Capitol police is motivated by identity, support, justice, fairness, a version of the truth, and the belief that elections have been stolen. The fantasy is that human being, that woman or man saying, “The President invited us,” is thinking in their head that they’re going to be allowed on the floor of the Senate and Congress. They’re going to get a chance to speak to the other Congresspeople and other senators. The senators are going to listen to them.
This is problematic because you’re taking a person’s belief in bias and leading them off a cliff where they’ve broken the rule of law. They’ve come and had the experience that, “I can say or do anything I want just as the president does.” This is problematic because if you send a threatening tweet to somebody and that person says, “This is a credible threat.” The police officers will show up at your door. They’ll say, “It says here that you are going to kill so-and-so.” It says it in the text. We want to see if that’s true or not, whether the person make it up or whatever.The entitlement mindset creates a series of messages to say that another entitled person is bad. Click To Tweet
Let’s not forget, Bill, lives were lost at the Capitol that day. A Capitol Hill police officer was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher and died from those injuries. There was a woman who was shot by a Capitol Hill police officer because of the threat that was posted. At first, I had to say some of the early videos that came out of that, I wondered about the circumstances and was it justified? More and more of these videos come out with how forceful this mob was pushing their way into that building, crushing, hurting another Capitol Hill police officers, pinned between the doors and people trying to pull his gas mass off his face. This was a brutal fight. Talk about reverse entitlement and entitlement, can you imagine how different it would have been? How many more lives would have been lost? How this been a Black Lives Matters protest of people of color pushing their way into the Capitol? There would have been a lot more shots fired, don’t you think?
I have a general sense of agreement that there is a justification. The officers felt threatened and they fired back. Think about that sentence. The officers felt threatened. They saw people with guns and they fired back. The crowd is going to fire back, but they fired. Many people, if it was a black crowd would go like, “I can see all those officers are feeling threatened.” It was important for them to protect themselves and they had to use it. Some people did die because they felt threatened and the officers were just protecting themselves.
There is a clip where one officer is getting beaten outside, I can see and many judges would acquit an officer saying, “I saw this guy kicking my colleagues, so I shot him because I was trying to save my fellow officer’s life.” The judge goes, “That’s called the protective use of force. You saw somebody being killed, so you shot at the perpetrator.” If it’s in a mob then the other mob people have guns, it’s not a good idea to shoot the person, but sorry, fellow officer, you may get beaten and I hope you don’t die. A very difficult situation for us to talk through. Empathy and compassion, what it does in the middle of this saying, “This mob is coming. We need to do something to meet the need for protection and physical safety for the congressmen and senators inside. What’s the planning for that?”
There wasn’t much of a plan of that. It seemed there was a plan because people went in there with heavy-duty zip ties as if they were going to apprehend people. There’s a lot that’s still to be revealed about the intent and what happened there but this reverse entitlement is at the root of a lot of it in addition to obviously the words that were spoken to incite this kind of behavior.
I’m trying to imagine and provide empathy for at this moment, the image of the guy sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s seat. How does he feel? Delighted or energized. What is his need? Fairness, justice, being seen and heard. Contribution to the president, the one he voted for. His identity is being met but notice that even though I can see the motive and how good he feels about that moment, he got there to that place, that’s not the way that we choose to express our leadership structure based on the constitution. In order to form a more perfect union, this is the structure we set up to do that. Not we, the people entitlement has to fight for our need for being heard violently doesn’t resonate because that doesn’t work because it’s not, we, the people to get my needs met at everybody’s expense is problematic.
I know this isn’t like a happy feel-good episode but there are a lot of serious things going on in our country. It’s important to try to think through these things and help others think through them as well with a goal of trying to get to a better place where we can have productive and safe conversations about these things. I’m sure a lot of us and our readers out there are experiencing every day, messages on social media that seem over the top, things to disagree with, very troubling, hard to see, and listen to.
I can empathize with the helplessness of somebody that thought that they were getting their need for identity met. They were sent by the president, they get to the airport and they’re in the no-fly zone. How helpless they felt? How disheartened? I can judge them and say, “They’re being a whiner.” I can judge them to say, “Didn’t they see this coming?” The answer is no. They were unaware that by supporting the president in this way, it wasn’t supporting themselves at all and he is not going to save them. “I’m sorry, you’re too small on the thing. I just needed enough of your votes to get elected,” and what a ride it’s been. It’s very disheartening because that human being had so much investment, energy and passion towards the president. Here’s even the sadder part about it. If the president took any of his skills and abilities of marketing, and put them to deal with the pandemic, he would be having another four years, hailed as a collaborative, cooperative president dealt with a major existential crisis in a very commanding and grounded way.
The next thing that we do is talk about these issues, and it looks like language-wise, we’re fighting this battle with one hand tied behind our back. How can legislators talk about these issues in a more effective way? How can journalists talk about them in a more effective way and deal with, “How do you talk about reverse entitlement because I’ve been messaged into entitlement and now how do I get messaged into equality?” That’s got to be one of the things that we’ve got to keep eyeballs on because the divided nation has started doing something together. Joe Biden invited us for a day of mourning with all the people that have died of Coronavirus from 2020. There’s a day of mourning sometimes. It’s going to this and that. It’s called the start.
It doesn’t matter what color you are. It doesn’t matter who you are. Once you’ve lost somebody with COVID-19, we needed a National Day of Mourning. What are we going to mourn? We’ll do candlelight vigils. We’re going to look at the people we’ve lost and do our best not to have any more deaths. You’ve got a path to unity but it’s not working the other way. More to come on this topic. Thanks, everybody. Tom, we’ve got to remind our readers that I have the book, Emotional Sobriety, that’s coming out this 2021 and that Communication U about how to learn how to speak like this. We need to include that message so people know to follow up on this. We’ll talk further about that moving forward.
Everybody can find information about Communication U from the website we always talk about, PurchasingTruth.com. There is navigation to Communication U, that’s all a part of BillStierle.com. Please check that out. We will continue to make sure everyone is aware. Thanks so much, Bill. It’s a great talk.
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