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Chris Tame R.I.P.

Chris Tame, founder and president of the Libertarian Alliance has just passed away in a London clinic.

I enclose the final email I sent him last week.

Dear Comrade,

I just wanted to tell you that I am very grateful for the help you’ve
given me and the opportunities you’ve put my way over the years,
especially as I have not always met your hopes. You put opportunities
my way when many would not have done, and I shall always remember

At FOREST, I remember you asking me to do filing for you, a task for
which I was very unsuited (especially as you are the most organized
person I’ve ever met).

At Lambeth, I really enjoyed working with you, and in particular I
recall the Monday after you’d   cleared out the stock room and all our
desks. It was refreshing to find a draw full of the supplies I needed.
I thought then that you could definitiely have been a British Julie

I also enjoyed the fun of coming up with headlines for press releases
in Lambeth: as libertarians we were of course completely unfazed by
evidence of the ineptitude of local government.

I bumped into Ivor Fishburne last week and told him about your
illness. He asked me to pass on his best wishes and concern.

Your achievements will be remembered, with the web and new
technologies your influences will I’m sure be ever greater. The
cataloguing and writings will never perish.

One of my proudest moments was in the Mozart House in Bratislava in
August 1991, in the actual room where Mozart gave a performance aged
5. I read out your “Taxation is Theft” LA pamphlet to a room full of
politicians…. and years later, the Slovak government brought in a
flat tax. Some of the people who did this heard my speech and your arguments.

Yours in the struggle for freedom.


34 comments to Chris Tame R.I.P.

  • Paul Michaels

    This is really sad news, I’d known Chris since the early
    A man full of life, with a terrific sense of humour.

    I’ll miss our conversations, this really was a person
    who deserved to live.

  • Bernie

    I never knew Chris and I may not have even met him. But I have met a few decent people outside of the LA who held him in high regard. The philosophy of liberty has had a profound effect on my outlook and my introduction to that philosophy was through the LA and some great people I met through it. So I’m grateful that he did what he did. There will be many more of us discovering what freedom really means and working one way or another to keep the dream alive. His life may have been cut short but he did achieve some very worthwhile things with his life.

  • Paul Marks

    Very sad.

  • I add my condolences – when I saw him at the National Liberal Club a while ago he seemed, though ill, so much still himself, as indomitable and crisp as ever.

    A good man who did much good in the world.

  • I’m really sorry to hear this. I only met Chris a few times, but I admired and liked him a lot. My condolences to all who had the good fortune to know him.

  • Very sorry to hear this. A great man who fought on the side of right. RIP.

  • Heard about Chris Tames death tonight. A very great loss.

  • I’n in more or less the same situation as Bernie. I didn’t know Chris, but many good friends of mine did and held him in high regard. My condolences to everyone.

  • Dale Amon

    I was introduced to Chris via SIL, before I had even moved to Ireland. That was going on 20 years ago. I’ve got a nice photo of him in the FOREST office in perhaps 1991, stashed in my photo collection.

    I do not think the libertarian scene in the UK and Ireland would be anything like the same if he had not been there.

  • Words fail me right now.

    I spoke with Chris a few days ago: he called to wish me farewell.

    Chris was like a brother to me. We were flatmates for a time before I left London over a decade ago, even dated a couple of the same women (albeit at different times, of course.)

    A mutual friend of ours in London once, with admiring humor, called Chris “one of life’s natural Californians”, not in the modern sense of “Californian”, but in the older sense of a dynamic, optimistic, neophilic, can-do kind of man. I understood and agreed.

    I already did my crying for him after our telephone call last week, when he told me we would never speak again. Tonight, I will drink to his memory and laugh at many of my memories.

    God, I’ll miss him.

  • Michael Taylor

    Yes, but fancy addressing someone on his deathbed as “Comrade”.

    Keep that style of address for . . . the comrades.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Michael Taylor, I suspect you have precious little knowledge of this friendship. So, at this very difficult time, please keep your opinions about how these two friends addressed one another to yourself.

  • Michael Taylor

    “Concerned Citizen”,

    You are right, I don’t know anything about this man. Perhaps then this is a private grief which should not be intruded upon.

    My apologies to all his comrades.

  • Tom

    I’d just like to express my great sadness at hearing this news. Like Russell Whitaker, I was a flatmate with Chris for several months, got to know him well as a friend as well as in his public life as founder of the LA. Chris was great fun and his fight against this terrible disease showed him at his best. We’ll all miss him.

  • Brian

    I’ve never heard of this man before but I’ve just read his “Taxation is Theft” essay and I like him already.

    May he rest in peace.

  • Pavel

    That must have been in 2001, right?

  • A tear at my eye

    That is so beautiful! Tame is dead, but his ideas live on. Even from beyond the grave he will continue to help the super rich of Slovakia and foreign investors operating there. God bless you, Chris.

  • Pavel, no it was 1991. Slovakia was not yet independent (although I told many of the opponents of independence in those days that Slovakia would perform better economically on its own than with the excuse of Prague to blame for everything).

    I don’t have a list of attendees, but many of the politicians who form the free market wing of Slovak politics were there. The text of my speech was recorded and published in Slovak. I took Chris’ pamphlet as a base, to which I added some remarks to give a local context.

    You can’t visit the building any more, the Austrian government has taken over the Mozart Dom building and I believe uses it as a consulate.

  • Antoine Clarke

    A tear to my eye,
    I always appreciate commentaters who hide their ignorance and stupidity behind a pseudonym.

    How brave of you!

    You obvious know little about Slovakia if you think there are “super-rich people” there. I suggest you go and lend some money to the British Labour Party, or buy a $10,000 ticket to a US Democratic Party fundraiser.

    As for foreign investors, are you suggesting that only famine relief should be allowed, or are you implying that Slovaks are an inferior race that don’t deserve freedom? Either way, I despise you.

  • Rest In Peace, Mr Tame.

    It is a pity that some have not yet come to grips with appropriate standards of behaviour at such a solemn moment.

  • My condolences as well. With Chris’s encouragement I published several essays at LA. Since December I’ve known that I will be in London next week, when I had hoped to meet Chris for the first time. Alas, that’s not to be.

  • Marian

    I am really sorry to hear about this. Chris Tame’s contribution for British libertarianism wasn’t small.

    However, I hope this will at least finally pave way for the reunification of the Libertarian Alliance and the Libertarian Alliance.

  • Tim Sturm

    Very sad news. My condolences to his close friends at the Libertarian Alliance.

  • Chris Tame was the best friend I never met. We lived thousands of miles apart, spoke by phone once, and exchanged lots of email over the past decade or so. He was always encouraging me to write for the LA, and I was pleased to send him a rough draft of my effort to finally take him up on it and have him reply that it was “Excellent.”

    I was always impressed with how well-read he was, and with his ability to glean value from even the most unlibertarian sources. I was also impressed with his sense of humor, his love of Elvis, and his optimism. As a native Californian myself, I can testify that he would’ve fit in well here, despite the recent leftist mutation of Californian politics.

  • Sorry to hear that. I met him in the 80s.

  • American observer

    Chris Tame was a hugely expert, energetic and determined spokesman for the libertarian position, as well as a key player in the revival of libertarian ideas in Britain stretching right back to the 1970s.

    He will be missed. I met him first twenty years ago. Twenty years later, his enthusiasm for what he knew to be right was as strong as it was when I first met him.

  • James

    I’m afraid I don’t know of the man, but from the comments here, I’ve a feeling once I’ve read some of his work, I’ll regret not having met or appreciated the man during his life. That will be my loss.

    Condolences to all those here who knew him and suffer by his loss.

  • James

    Oh, and ” A tear at my eye at “;

    FOAD, you ungentlemanly weasel.

  • Yes his passing, especially in the horrid manner he died, is most sad. He will be sorely missed by all those who encountered him friends and foes alike. Godspeed Chris.

  • I can alas confirm that my friend of 25 years standing Chris R. Tame succumbed to bone cancer and post-operative complications on the 20th March. My friend Gerald Hartup was with him at the Royal Marsden Hospital (the best cancer unit in Britain) the day before he died, and was greatly relieved to see that Chris was in good spirits, and not suffering serious pain. He was very much his usual self. He died the following day. Sean Gabb and Tim Smith were with him, as were several other close friends.

    I met Chris in 1978 as he was leaving the “Freedom Association” to set up the Alternative Bookshop. We became amazingly close friends — we would both start whistling or singing the same song together — and each of us understood the other’s most obscure references. I was astonished at how our tastes in TV shows and music coincided, even though he was six years younger. We both loved Gene Roddenberry’s “Have Gun, Will Travel” and “StarTrek” as well as a vast range of serious science fiction. I was a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Alliance.

    I was living in a small room at the back of the Bookshop, with my pet cat Beeper, and I would see Chris every day. We would discuss the most arcane aspects of libertarianism. There was a really good social scene around the Bookshop and the Libertarian Alliance — open, good-hearted and intelligent. At that time, most of us wanted to move to North America in due course. We had little reason to have confidence in the willingness of “The Powers That Be” to fight for a truly free country.

    Chris was a “one-off”, unique. I shall miss him. There are very few people I’ve ever been willing to die for; and Chris was one of them..

    “Hasta la vista!” Chris.

    Tony Hollick
    Rainbow Bridge Foundation

  • Sara

    It is with great regret that I mark the passing of Chris. I was a sex worker to whom he allowed a platform for my thoughts via LA publications.

    Although he and I never totally agreed he gave me the dignity of moral agency. He respected the ownership of my body, my life and my choices.

    He lived his life true to his values and had great generosity of spirit.

    He was one of my teachers.

    Sara MacKenzie

  • R.M.Healey

    I interviewed both Sean Gabb and Chris for Mensa Magazine in Spring 2005 ( the piece appeared in the March 2006 issue ).

    We didn’t agree on everything, but I was very impressed by Chris’s energy, humour, deep learning and utter commitment to the tenets of libertarianism. After the interview we talked for two hours over a coffee and he told me of his plans for the future.

    Read the interview if you can. I hope it is a tribute to Chris’s radical ideas–so necessary in the present climate.

    Robin Healey

  • Stephen Jarvis

    I knew Chris many years ago in the 1970s. Though I drifted away from Libertarianism, and have not had any contact with him since that time, I feel truly sad that he is gone. I feel like a part of myself has been taken too.