Monday, June 30, 2008

Vince has left the building.

Vince Miller with 'Simpson' during December, 2003, visit at the Pedde home.

My friend Vince Miller passed away at 8:15 am, this past Saturday morning, June 28th, 2008. He will be missed. For those of you who knew Vince or are familiar with the International Society for Individual Liberty that he headed, here is more information on Vince and his accomplishments.

I met Vince in 1973, I think. A group of us was walking back to a Libertarian Party of Canada meeting of some kind after lunch at a Toronto restaurant, and Vince happened to be walking beside me. Rather than talking specifically about the meetings we were attending and the objectives we hoped to achieve, we spoke about guns and shooting. Vince loved both. He knew more about guns than I did and I listened with great interest as he described his favourite sidearms. One of the things that had been on my mental to-do list ever since was to go shooting with Vince. I guess it's too late now.

Vince left Canada years ago to take up residence in the United States. For a few years I didn't see him at all and then at some point we reconnected. He began to spend a day or two after Christmas with my family each year. He had relatives in and around London, Ontario, where I live, and would visit with them first and then spend at least one night with us. We would stay up late into the night, drink wine, and decry the increasing abuse of individual rights by governments everywhere and bemoan the human tendency to look to government for solutions to problems real and imaginary. And we celebrated the fact that at least a few people, world-wide, understand that the single most important principle in the world is freedom: freedom to do what you want, say what you want, associate with whom you want, buy and sell what you want, all with the caveat that your rights end where someone else's begin. Those were special evenings. My wife and I looked forward to them. My son Zachary was born in 1992, and as he grew up he too looked forward to Vince's visits.

My wife and I were discussing yesterday how long it has been since Vince first began his annual visits with us. She has a much better memory about these things than I and tells me that we went to see him in Richmond, Virginia (where he lived before moving to the San Francisco area) in 1987 or 1988. She thinks that he was already visiting with us before then. Wow. I wonder how many bottles of wine we shared, how many of the word's problems we solved on those evenings (only to forget those solutions the following morning) and how many derogatory statements we made about governments far and wide and how much derision we heaped on the fools who clamour for more and more centralization of power and thus enable the inevitable consequence of diminished liberty.

Vince, we will miss you. You were a good man and you left your mark on the world. Rest in peace.


  1. So sorry about the loss of your friend.

  2. Thanks, Freddie. I appreciate that.

  3. Dear-bought experience has taught me the price you pay for longevity is the loss of friends and family.
    My greatest fear has always been that I would outlive my country, because that's the one demise with which I am least prepared to deal.
    The best that can come out of all this, is that someone with equal or greater commitment as Vince had, will carry on his work, and liberty will prevail.

  4. Time marches on and waits for no man. Or whatever the cliche is. It's true: there are a lot of gifted and dedicated individuals out there, probably ready and able to take our places when we pass on. Still, I miss the friends who have left us. And I definitely am not ready to go myself.

  5. Sieg, I'm so sorry about the loss of your dear friend. I hope those many years of memories bring you comfort.

  6. Thanks, Jean. This has been a year of losses. Hopefully it's not a trend that will continue.

  7. I knew Vince since 1972. Always a dear friend, I often worried about Vince. How would he manage when he was too old to work ? What would happen if Vince needed medical care in the US ? Vince did what he thought morally correct. Damn the practicalities. Vince made every minute of his life count. He said what needed to be said, and often, Vince took time for another glass of wine.
    Now I happily see that Vince was right all along. He lived life happily, to the fullest. He helped the cause of liberty so much. Vince leaves many many grateful friends and associates behind. What more could anyone want ? Thank you for everything Vince. - Paul Beith.

  8. Thanks for those insights, Paul. I appreciate them and so would Vince were he still around to share a glass of wine with us.