A decade-long encounter

Encounter Books is celebrating its tenth anniversary. In 1998, with the help of the Bradley Foundation and with Peter Collier at the helm, Encounter Books published its first volume, Ward Connerly’s Creating Equal. Despite having achieved victory in an epic, hugely publicized struggle against racial discrimination by the state of California, Connerly could not get his book published elsewhere. This fact foreshadowed the vital role Encounter Books would play over the next decade.

Encounter Books, now under the leadership of Roger Kimball, has put together a 10th anniversary set consisting of seven volumes:

The Rape of the Masters by Kimball

Mexifornia by Victor Davis Hanson

Londonistan by Melanie Phillips

Climate Confusion by Roy Spencer

Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell

America’s Secular Challenge by Herbert London

Lessons From My Uncle James by Connerly

The last volume recounts the lessons Connerly learned from the uncle who raised him starting when Connerly was age 4, after his father had abandoned the family and his mother had died. The book is about character, always a timely subject and perhaps now more so than for many years.

Connerly, meanwhile, continues to press for the prohibition of racial preferences by the state. That ban always takes the form of the following language:

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

In 2008, that language is on the ballot, and likely to succeed, in Colorado and Nebraska. Previously, it has succeeded in California, Washington, and Michigan. Voters have never rejected it.

Connerly reports that this year he encountered especially aggressive resistance to efforts to get his anti-discrimination language before voters. One of his main antagonists was ACORN, the voter fraud specialists and longtime Barack Obama ally. Another was a group called “By Any Means Necessary.” Connerly says that, true to its name, this outfit uses outright intimidation in an effort to prevent his anti-discrimination language from receiving sufficient petition support to get on the ballot.

The theory seems to be: why rely on voter fraud when you can prevent an election altogether? It foreshadows another ten years in which Encounter Books will have a vital role to play.

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