Monday, June 30, 2008
Vince has left the building.
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.