Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vince Miller, requiescat in pace

Vince Miller was a true mensch and it has been a distinct privilege to have worked closely with him for the last few years.

As president of the International Society for Individual Liberty, Vince rescued key components of Free-Market.Net, where I had previously worked, when it went bankrupt.

In late 2004, he approached me and my compadres at Rational Review News Digest about taking over daily production of Freedom News Daily -- one of those FMN components and, so far as I know, the Internet's longest-lived libertarian daily news publication (it absorbed the older "Libernet" newsletter in the late 1990s). We've been happily publishing FND as a co-branded edition of RRND ever since.

Last year -- I believe it was in March -- my family and I were honored to spend a couple of days in Chicago with Vince. This was the first time I had met him in person. We discussed the future of FND and of ISIL's web presence, had lunch with Joe and Diane Bast of the Heartland Institute, and saw some of the Windy City's sights together.

I wish I'd spent more time with Vince at the Libertarian Party's 2008 national convention in Denver. He was working the Laissez Faire Books booth (ISIL recently acquired LFB, which had been on the brink of ceasing operations, and is bringing it back); I was working on multiple LP campaigns. We never made time for a good long sitdown ... and now we never will.

Vince appeared hale and hardy in Denver, but shortly after his return home to Benicia, California, he fell ill with respiratory problems. The initial diagnosis was pneumonia, but that was eventually corrected to "Valley Fever" -- a fungal infection native to a nearby area of California -- coupled with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Hospitalized, Vince was moved to ICU, breathing with the aid of a ventilator, and then things began to go even more wrong -- first kidney failure, then liver. A last-ditch attempt to treat the Valley Fever with steroids failed, and Vince died at about 8:15 am on Saturday.

I -- and I'm sure I can speak for the RRND/FND staff on this -- miss him already, and the freedom movement will miss him sorely for many years to come. Vince was one of the good guys, and one of the guys who got things done. ISIL, and before that the Libertarian International (which he founded and eventually merged into ISIL), live on as monuments to his work for human liberty. I remain stunned by his sudden passing, and apologize for my lack of eloquence. He deserves a better obituary, and I'm sure he'll be the subject of many.

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