Always greeted with a smile, jousted with good nature, and toasted with cheer.
Peter Collier died last weekend at the age of 80. He was a New Left radical who had, as he himself put it, “second thoughts.” He had the courage to pursue and develop them, intellectually and in his actions.
We met and got to know Collier personally through the support of some of his activities by Milwaukee’s Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, where we worked. He got along quite well with Bradley’s first president, Michael Joyce. In fact, he sure seemed to get along well with almost everyone, even given the strength with which he held and articulated his positions.
He and David Horowitz took over Ramparts magazine in 1969, after which they wrote best-selling familial biographies of the Rockefellers and Kennedys. After their disillusionment with the left, they wrote 1989’s seminal Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties.
In 1992, Collier founded the controversial Heterodoxy magazine. In 1998, he co-founded what has become the David Horowitz Freedom Center and—with substantial Bradley support—helped found Encounter Books, of which he was basically Joyce’s hand-picked first editor. He led Encounter until 2005.
Collier always greeted with a smile, jousted with good nature, and toasted with cheer. He was fun to be around, to talk to, to listen to. Here’s to more people like him, more people with his combination of courage and kindness.