A Tribute to William Kennedy Shearer

I thought this was a beautiful piece done by AIP member Markham Robinson on William K. Shearer. Kudos to Markham!

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalms 116:15

William K. Shearer

We are gathered here together tonight not only to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the American Independent Party, but to lament the passing of its founder William Kennedy Shearer. The moment when any dominant leader passes is surely one of opportunity and danger in the life of any private organization or of any nation for that matter. We are at just such a crossroads now.

William Shearer was by all reports a magnificent fellow, full of life and enthusiasm, prone to burst into song, reportedly often Mexican Revolutionary songs. And I must agree, the Mexicans still really need a revolution!

William Kennedy Shearer was evidently a most excellent lawyer. He was a longtime publisher of the California Statesman, a publication of very high quality—especially one produced by essentially one man. His continuance in that calling clearly demonstrates his dedication to his cause—which was nothing less than the restoration of American liberty!

But, as is the hazard of all great men, he tended to dwarf those among whom he strode. So the challenge before all of us must be to grow to his stature or be lost!

He was a talented amateur historian—and amateur should never be confused with unskilled! Moreover he was an astute commentator on foreign affairs and on matters of California and national politics. The precise nature of his political philosophy, I have not as yet been able to determine. This is perhaps, because he apparently was more of a historian of the present—a journalist—and a chronicler of the past—a historian—than a philosopher. Yet, he, as a good historian, must surely addressed the why’s as well as the what’s of the past.

We as a nation are often accused, justly I believe, of an inadequate appreciation of our own national past. But, if we do not sometimes reflect upon the past with insight, we will surely not understand the future when it arrives. Contrary to the lyrics of the song, “Never stop thinking about tomorrow,” we must look back, else when tomorrow arrives, we will immediately forget it!

And the contrary is precisely what I am doing here, “Thinking about Yesterday”—the yesterday that was the life of William Kennedy Shearer. Consider though; such a backward looking occupation is precisely that of the historian, who thinks with profit on yesterday. But, how does Scripture regard a disposition to never look back, especially at “the perfect law of liberty?”

James 1:23-25 - If anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. NKJV

What is a man, a party or a nation with no past? One that does not know itself! But I would caution you, knowing yourself is not the quintessence of wisdom as some believe! In fact, to be preoccupied with yourself is the very definition of a narcissist and the occupation of a fool. Moreover, to be filled with an unwarranted self-esteem—as is the goal of much modern education—is that very pride that God himself is said to hate. So, on this solemn occasion we need to form a just estimate of ourselves: as a people, as a party, and as a nation. As it says in Scripture,

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: KJV

For lovers of liberty, these are days of adversity and whether we will leave any remnant of the blessings of liberty—which our Constitution sought to secure to our posterity—is in grave doubt. So how shall we profit from the example of William Kennedy Shearer? Perhaps the key lies in his scholarly preoccupations, in history. And, as our personal past is essential to our very beings as human souls, so also is the appreciation of a nation’s past by its citizens.

One relevant part of William Shearer’s past is his part in the founding of the US Taxpayers Party, later to become the Constitution Party. The name of that party is, I believe, a key to how we should profit from William Shearer’s example. We, like he, should concern ourselves with history, but with a history relevant to the aims of our and his party, including our Revolutionary history, the history of the drafting and adoption of the Constitution and what we have made of that great work till now. We should do this, so that we should not be like that man, who looked in the mirror of the law of liberty and promptly forgot himself!

But, I fear that we as a nation are like that man. Therefore, it is all the more vital that we continue—with the vision of our glorious history singing in our hearts—to pursue that great project of the late and justly lamented William Kennedy Shearer to restore American Liberty!

May God bless our attempts to live up to the memory and ideals of our departed comrade in arms, William Kennedy Shearer!

To the Restoration of the Conscience and Constitution of the United States of America!

I remain faithfully yours,

Markham Robinson

I invite all of you to contribute your personal recollections of William Shearer. To devote time to such a project is a worthy endeavour. As the Preacher says,

Ecclesiastes 7:2-5

2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. KJV

7 Responses to “A Tribute to William Kennedy Shearer”

  1. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] Says:

    Did you know that this is a repeat from 2006?

  2. Cody Quirk Says:

    What have you been smoking?!

    Bill passed in March this year and there was a obituary done by me then.

    I see why you Reformers can’t get your act together.

  3. Bri Says:

    What’s with all of this religious language at an AIPCA event?! The AIP is a political party! NOT a church! :)


  4. Gary Odom Says:

    Which was a term very likely coined by Bill Shearer, who the writer of this “tribute” never met.

    “The precise nature of his political philosophy, I have not as yet been able to determine.” Uh, gee… as one who was privileged to know Bill for almost 36 years, I think maybe the author, perhaps, should have tried to derive some kind of an understanding of this somewhat important subject, before attempting this rather hollow tribute.

  5. Cody Quirk Says:

    What’s with all of this religious language at an AIPCA event?! The AIP is a political party! NOT a church!

    =Spoken by a true hypocrite named Bri.

  6. Markham Robinson Says:

    First, thanks for the tribute to the tribute for William Shearer by this site’s proprietor, Austin Cassidy.

    Second, how ungracious to tarnish an attempt at a tribute that none of the commenters who knew the man cared to essay!

    There is only one comment to which I would care to reply, Gary Odom’s.

    I did try to determine his political philosophy, but a request to his long-time assistant for anything on his political philosophy yielded only articles in his publication that explained why one should study history and the utility of humor in politics. Although interesting these were not answerable to my quest and came to me the morning of the day of the event commemorating his life and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the American Independent Party by him.

    I also searched the web for published works by William Shearer, but did not find anything to answer the important question of his political philosophy. Then I went to the UCD library which had copies of all the issues of William Shearer’s California Statesman. I scanned a couple of years of those but did not find what I sought.

    Given the limited time I had to prepare this effort I have only limited apologies for its acknowledged inadequacies.

    At the event honoring William Shearer I found my tribute unexpectedly printed on the program and was asked to give an adumbrated version of it after which several in attendance at this most pleasant dinner rose to contribute their personal remembrances of the man.

    When I reached the last of my presentation, I actually almost choked up, surprising me. It evidently came through, because someone exclaimed, “And he didn’t even know the man!” as indeed I had acknowledged when I began to speak.

  7. Anonymous Says:

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    Excellent post. Keep it up!

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