A View from the Outside — Episode One — In which our hero is introduced

The purpose of this (hopefully recurring) series is to provide a few things, first of all, the thing in the title, a perspective of an outsider on some of the political stories of the day, along with touching on a couple of things that might have slipped under the radar.

I am, variously, a former MP’s researcher, a market researcher, a TV advertising specialist, and increasingly a digital marketeer (programmatic). I think in data, trends, and rapid response and feedback loops. I lean both Right and Left on different things, and I doubt I’ll ever directly state what those things are.

In principle, and assuming this creates value for both me and others, I’ll look to cover two issues each time I write (hopefully daily, or at least a few times a week).

So without further ado, what’s occurring? Apparently, golf is the issue of the day… but lets focus on something else — Warrior-scholars (and some other bits)

Its a phrase that crops up in a bunch of articles about McMaster, and it irks me some. In my (relatively limited, but meaningful) experience, military folk are often great readers and thinkers. Many branches of the US service provide public reading lists, for example…

On the surface these lists may appear to be highly militaristic and intended for soldiers, but having served not a day in uniform, but having read many of these books once, twice or more, I can say they have high utility for anyone in a leadership or strategic role. Its worth noting that if anyone has the opportunity to stress test models of thoughts it is those in the military.

McMaster himself has shared a reading list in a bunch of places and its getting some play today

Its more fascinating that more professionals don’t have reading lists and don’t typically feel the need to learn and develop outside relatively narrow fields of their own experience.

I was lucky that early on I was introduced to the idea of being a scholar within the workplace when a mentor hurled this book at me (at the time I was a junior member of a team that worked on political campaigns) and said “Learn this and you’ll know everything about how to win”, I don’t know that he was 100% right, but it gave me an alternate way of thinking that serves me well to this day.

Scholarship is at its heart, the attempt to specialise a field of knowledge, taking in familiar and unfamiliar sources to enhance ones knowledge. It fascinates me that scholarship is so worthy of comment, as it is so unfamiliar to most in leadership positions.

South Africa continues to struggle under a growing financial challenge, and inequality in its society, with issues such as this becoming a more common occurrence

As the article notes, officials in South Africa are often immune to scandal in a way that is unfamiliar to Western audiences, who are used to people falling on their swords for even minor offences.

This tragedy is emblematic of the challenges South Africa faces that are leading to violent confrontations in universities to the Parliament, as Zuma continues to push to find blame, rather than solutions (although solutions may be near impossible)

It’s important to note that the post truth movement we now find ourselves in, where belief is given equal weight to fact, we’re likely to see more and more of this, where Governments that already had a slight… edge… feel more freedom to use beliefs to secure their position in the face of facts.

A great case study of this is my recent discovery of Space X Truthers

Let’s bear in mind that you can go and watch Space X’s vehicles rise and fall (thus far in a largely controlled way), either in person or live over the internet, with increasing frequency. The technologies are complex of course, but the solutions are simple, as anyone who has played Kerbal Space Program (go ahead, I’ll wait) will attest. DeltaV and maths can do most things.

As what was once the fringe in the US, Europe takes greater hold it will be important to watch what this enables in the parts of the world that don’t get so much attention. South Africa is a great example internationally, but what will we find beyond the alt-right movement, or the extreme fringes of the UK’s Leave Movement now they are closer to the mainstream. History suggests you’ll usually just find another fringe.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.