A while back, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote something that I remember singing the praises of for a few weeks, about challenging yourself intellectually by taking on the very best arguments of your opposition, and not letting yourself getting distracted by the weakest. Apparently, the guy practices what he preaches, because recently when people were piling on Paul Ryan for saying something about how the urban poor could help themselves by abandoning their self destructive poor people ways, Ta-Nehisi walked right past Paul Ryan and threw his glove at Barack Obama, who habitually says not dissimilar things in a slightly different context and tone. And then Jonathan Chait, who might be my second favorite writer after Ta-Nehisi, took up the glove (that's how duels work, right? I'm a little fuzzy on the mechanics) for the honor of Barack Obama and all progressive kind, and the two have been going back and forth on the issue ever since.
Two incredibly smart people are publicly debating one of the most sensitive and volatile issues of liberalism, putting themselves out there in a way that kind of terrifies me. You should go watch.
The Secret Lives of Inner City Black Males
Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Poverty and Culture
Black Pathology and the Closing of the Progressive Mind
Barack Obama vs. the Culture of Poverty
Other Peoples' Pathologies
Ta-Nehisi Coates disagrees with 'Jonathan Chait' and so do I
The Blue Period: An Origin Story