Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

The Dialectic of Job Creation

Scott Brown was asked recently to comment on Elizabeth Warren and he, predictably, refused. He said that he wasn’t going to weigh in on the field of Democratic candidates for the senate seat he now holds but, as a way of obliquely criticizing Warren, he also said that he wasn’t going to “beat up on job creators” either.

Brown was, of course, referring to Warren’s recent comments, construed by the Right as “a class warfare rant,” on taxation and the rich, but he was also simply demonstrating party discipline. Just as every Republican mechanically refers to “Obama’s job-killing healthcare plan,” thus replacing rational dispute about the pro’s and con’s of this latest attempt to address real problems with partisan nay-saying boiled down to a knee-jerk epithet, they are now responding to any discussion of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans as an attack (“warfare”) on “job creators.”

While I find the equation of “the rich” and “job creators” problematic on many levels, the level I would like to focus on is that of the dialectic. Dialectical thinking, on which Elizabeth Warren relies in the comments under discussion, means putting things in context, focusing on complexity, and striving to understand how elements of any system influence and mutually define one another.

Consider the question, “Who creates jobs?” You could say, along with the Republicans (and devotees of Ayn Rand), that people who build companies create jobs. The logic behind this is not complicated: Companies can be seen as “a bunch of jobs,” so if you create a company, you have created jobs. QED.

But how do you “build a company”? Read the rest of this entry »

A Contradiction I Found in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

John Galt says to Dagny Taggart, “Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever.”

So what does it mean that Rand uses a fictional character to express her philosophy (Galt’s epic and exhausting speech) as well as a fictional narrative depicting a fictional reality in order to illustrate it?

Either we are not meant to take the ideas at the center of this novel seriously, seeing them instead as a parody on par with her caricature of job-killing liberal democracy, or we are meant to take them seriously and, as it turns out, certain truths can only be spoken by faking reality.

While I am perfectly comfortable with this notion, it is anathema to “objectivism.” The world of A=A is for all intents and purposes devoid of irony.

Irony requires a subject as well as an object, and the process of speaking ironically and understanding, or not, something ironically spoken, can best—not to say “only”— be understood dialectically.

Having rejected the dialectic, however, Rand forces us to take her work at face value (like a coin of pure gold).

And thus effaces it.

Content Marketing and the Hegelian Dialectic


In the olden days, the watchword was: “Content is King!” Thinking on this now, however, I’m not sure that that it was ever really true.

Certainly, if your site featured lots and lots of stuff that lots and lots of people wanted to read, look at, and/or share, if it was “explorable,” in other words, then it may have, at least for a time, stood shoulder to shoulder with its peers in the interwebs’ pantheon of much-favored destinations.

Still, though like any great house it may have owed its rank and status to the tireless service of its retainers, the site itself was the true lord and master; the content, on the other hand served as knight and page, courtier and courtesan attracting visitors to the gilded halls, making their stay enjoyable, and vanishing like the April snow when the favor of these visitors or the sovereign turned from them.

Which is not to say, of course, that content is unnecessary. On the contrary, the content on your site – and I’m thinking both of information generally (address, phone number, product descriptions, client lists, etc.) as well as articles, stories, reports, white papers, opinion pieces, user reviews, videos, podcasts, and consumable images (i.e., NOT stock photos evanescently embodying your brand’s look and feel), and so on – is your site for all intents and purposes.

Read the rest of this entry »