Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vincent Miller: 1938 - 2008

It is with considerable sadness that I announce the death Vincent Miller, the founder and president of the International Society for Individual Liberty. Vince was born in Canada in 1938 as Henry Vincent Miller, Henry being his father's name. But through his early childhood he was called Sonny by all and sundry. When Vince began school at his local one room schoolhouse he mother wrote that he was now known as Vince to everyone.

Vince was a refugee from the over-regulation mindset that plagues Canada and after numerous attempts eventually secured his Green Card to work and live in the United States.

I first met Vince at an Ann Arbor conference in 1980. It was here that Vince announced the formation of the Libertarian International, the organization that eventual became ISIL. Vince's goal was to encourage the spread of libertarian ideas to nations around the world. And he did. ISIL has held more than two dozen summits all around the world. Speakers at the conferences have gone to become national leaders and thousands of students, in other countries, were first introduced to libertarian ideas. And ISIL continued to try to nurture groups they worked with in these countries.

Vince was vigorous and healthy right up until he travelled to Denver to observe the Libertarian Party conference and to promote ISIL and it's newest acquisition, Laissez Faire Books. But in Denver he wasn't feel well and would spend a periods throughout the day resting in his room. After the grueling two day drive back to the Bay Area he continued to feel ill but resisted going to a doctor. He felt he had too much work to do and was sure that he had the flu and that it was just lingering.

Three weeks ago he was persuaded that to see a doctor and upon examination was rushed to the hospital with presumed pneumonia. In the first few days there was some recovery but his lungs never cleared. With his breathing still returning to normal a team of physicians tried to find the cause. In the end it was believed he had Valley Fever but the physician said that other infections were present as well.

Vince was put on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma due to the great discomfort of the ventilator. Doctors tried for two weeks to bring his breathing back to normal but his body didn't respond. His kidneys began to fail and then his liver experienced problems. In the last hours of his life the hospital added a morphine drip to his treatment to make sure there was no discomfort of pain even though he remained in the coma. This was as an added precaution during his last hours.

Vince is survived by a nephew and niece and their families in Canada. He is also survived by hundreds of friends worldwide and by the thousands of students whose lives he touched through his work.

At Vince's request there will be no funeral service. His remains will be cremated and there will be a small, private ceremony of some of his local friends to scatter his ashes. A memorial celebration will be planned later. Those who wish to honor Vince are asked to do so in a manner that he would appreciate and which would carry on his work. In lieu of cards or flowers donations to the International Society for Individual Liberty are encouraged. A Vince Miller Memorial Fund to finance ISIL projects that were dear to Vince will be established.

Checks may be mailed to ISIL, 836B Southampton Rd. #299, Benicia, CA 94510-1960. Those who prefer to make an online donation may do so through the general donations button here.

Photo: This photo is of Vince Miller speaking to Arturas Zuokas, the mayor Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, at an ISIL summit, in 2003.

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