Not super-surprising. Incite a mob, and they take off on their own.
Hopefully things will peeter out pretty quickly without a lot more violence or tension. That remains to be seen.
A major general governing principle of memetics is that the creator of the meme fades into the background. That's why we have patent, trademark and copyright laws, by the way. Create a bad (but successful) system of memes and it will take on a life of its own. That's the way memes work -- they're either virile, viable, successful, or not. It doesn't matter who created them
Government and the rule of law work because their are linked to a system of MIAOs (memetic iconic anchoring objects) that anchor the memes in play to things like office(holder)s, buildings, etc.
This occurred to me when I was watching a docu-drama about Augustus: The First Emperor, and how all the Roman buildings and statues, and the buildings where Senators meet and all that are integral parts of maintaining a stable government. That may be why humans go to so much trouble to put up impressive buildings. It may be also why people hang onto sacred places, such as the Wailing (West) Wall, The Black Hills, and so on.
The enduring power and stability of a memetic system is independent of whoever cobbled it together, once it's up and running.
I don't feel that Trump was ever very original, by the way. He just cobbled together a bunch of racist, misogynist ideas into a sort of "Mosaic of Hate" and that automatically brought a lot of people together and consolidated his base of support.
Reagan performed a similar (and in my view not much less ugly) agglomeration by politicizing and ultimately weaponizing the Christian Right. Trump carried on in this same disgusting tradition to keep the Republican party "relevant."
So Trump noticed there was deep anger, depression, resentment, and ideological reaching an explosive level before MOST "leaders" were able to guage it.
He played it like a piano... Evidently the values we talk about in 12 step work are not memetically powerful and perhaps antithetical to memetics?
Why would you make that statement?
Aside from the fact that, like air, pretty much everything in human affairs relates to memetics?
Given that AA has been around for 75 years and has spread into hundreds of other 12-step programs where it functions in exactly the same way, I'd have to say that couldn't be more wrong. And in that time it's going from a few dozen adherents to millions in 140-plus countries, and it's book translated into dozens of languages, also speaks to the virility of the 12-step memeplex, so yeah, no, it's pretty damn successful (virile).
I use the term "stability" to describe the susceptibility to mutation. In just over twice the length of time, if you compare the Mormon Church and the 12-Step program, 12-Steps seem to have been much more stable, in that there are no 12-step spin-offs that don't use the same steps or don't talk to other programs, while the Mormon church has fragmented into at least 2-3 mutually antagonistic factions. That's a very rough example. But the Mormons have a church most of whose function is to impose orthodoxy, and a heavily funded proselytization movement, to the extent of hundreds of people being murdered to keep it all together. AA has done none of those things.
So, yeah, I'm a little confused by the comment that AA isn't a successful memeplex, or isn't a memeplex (which doesn't make sense at all).
I don't necessarily agree that Trump played it all that well, especially given the meltdown of his movement right now. I feel his capitalization upon existing misogynist and white supremist memeplexes to be pretty ham-fisted.
The thing about a coherent memetic system, whether it's the Mormon Church, AA, any of the several White Power organizations (Ku Klux Klan, Boogaloo Bois, QAnon, Neo-Nazism, etc.) to which Trump made appeals to build his powerbase, is that they all have Interface Memes (or contact memes, although this typically refers to how minority groups are exploited) and MIAOs. You don't have to organize them because they're already organized, and you don't need to give them a rallying cry, because they already have one, thank you very much.
It's possible to invoke ideological iconography, such as nooses, white hoods, swastikas, aborted babies, the letter Q, any number of different flags, and you're automatically invoking a lot of the memes to which members of the given group resonate. It doesn't take any skill.
I have a term for this ham-fisted invocation or referencing of out-group iconography (such as racial and ethnic epithets): "(employing) the language of the other." Basically, and Trump certainly seemed to be doing this, "I don't know what the word schplunktifier means, but I know that the members of the S-Group get all excited when I use it. Either they think it's offensive and claim it as "their word," or anybody who is called that its automatically somebody they hate. It doesn't take a lot of skill to use and manipulate in-group iconography like this, through these kinds of interface memes.
Hitlerian, yes, Machiavellian, obviously, and Machiavelli was writing down what people already knew. The book Linked points out that ideological groups tend to isolate, bifurcate from each other, as expressed by a shrinking number of links. This is the same thing as memetic pathways, i..e, there become very few. As I pointed out, totalizing ideologies (or dogmas) which have immunomemetic that cause them to totally isolate themselves lead directly to violence. The groups Trump manipulated were self-isolating as part of their internal functioning -- any out-group messages were automatically treated as "conspiracy." Trumped stoked this, and it led directly to violence as I've explained here and elsewhere.
That's a powerful insight, don't you think? Disenfranchisement, not over-taxation, is the root cause of revolutions (like the French Revolution). Disenfranchisement by itself, leads to social turmoil and violence. If you look at it in memetic terms, that is, structurally what is going on, you can see that there is a symmetry, a transitive phenomenon in play. If an ideology is not initially disenfranchised, as such, but contains within its ideology a collection of immunomemes that automatically rejects, rather than communicating with, any incoming memetic overture as being "heresy," or "a conspiracy," or what-have-you, then you are in a memetically comparable situation to a group (for example, immigrants) who have no shared language with the hegemonic mainstream, can't find employment, are denied housing, are subject to violence, are unable to make their voices heard so as to have any control over or improve their situation.
That's a powerful insight, don't you think?
It's possible to examine the ideological structure of any subgroup and determine whether they are at risk of becoming dangerously unstable. It also lights the way to possibly fixing it. It's more than just saying that an ideology is racist, or hateful of such-and-so, which is a lot, but it's about whether they are incapable of listening. That's the thing that scared me about these people who eventually attacked the Capitol, is that they are incapable of hearing what others have to say and taking it into account.
Trump didn't invent anything new or original. Bill Wilson did. Bill W. may have been standing on the shoulders of giants, actually we know he was, but he definitely wrapped things up in a way that others could adopt and copy. He did it because he was spurred by the fear of agonizing death, and part of the memeplex was the propagatory meme (almost like an immunomeme) to pass it on, to help the next guy, and later with The 12 Traditions, underscoring "no matter who he is."