Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
What if Bogle never read your emails. I get over 300 emails a day and don’t get time to read them all. I skip the emails that come from people I don’t know. I am guessing a guy like Bogle gets even more emails and has to pick and choose what to read and respond to.
I believe that he read the e-mails. One of the e-mails was invited. He had started a new blog or something and he asked for input and I sent an e-mail giving input. Are you saying that he invites comment on a question and then does not read the responses? That’s really pushing it.
And Bogle himself said that he visited the Bogleheads Forum once per week. There were some days during the time-period in which he said that where there were three or four threads PER DAY dealing with the topics at issue here. Are you saying that he didn’t notice any of them when he visited the board? That’s very, very hard to believe. It we were talking about some random thread, yes, it would be entirely possible that he missed it. But this was a raging controversy for 18 months. There was relentless, high-spirited discussion.
The entire freakin’ board was MOVED because of this. The board used to be at Morningstar. Morningstar refused to ban me. So Lindauer asked that everyone move to a different site where he could control who was banned. Are you saying that Bogle moved to a different site and never noticed that the board had been moved? That’s 100 percent impossible to believe, Anonymous. He noticed that the board had been moved. So he knew there were things going on.
There were numerous questions about valuations that came up that year at the annual meeting. Bogle is not a moron. He knew why those questions were being asked. He might not have known all the details. I don’t believe that he did. But I am 100 percent certain that he had the general picture of what was going on. He knew that there was a guy who was banned who was raising questions about how Shiller’s research reflects on the Buy-and-Hold dogmas and that Mel Lindauer and his Goons were engaging in insanely abusive acts to get this guy removed so that people visiting the board would not hear these challenges. Bogle knew that much and to know that much and not do anything about it is fraud.
We will find out all the details at the trial. We know what we need to know to know that there will be a trial following the next price crash.
Say that none of this had happened. None of it. There STILL would be an issue. Shiller showed in peer-reviewed research published in 1981 that there is precisely zero chance that Buy-and-Hold could ever work for a single investor either in this solar system or in any other solar system located far, far away. Yet Bogle made no changes in Buy-and-Hold as a result. Huh? Is it not arguable that that itself was financial fraud even without all the rest?
I believe that Bogle was suffering from cognitive dissonance in 1981. I think he is a good man and a smart man. So I personally would not call him guilty of financial fraud in 1981. Cognitive dissonance is a real thing. Bogle truly believes in Buy-and-Hold. Fama is a legitimate researcher, one who deserved the Nobel prize he was awarded. So I think that what happened in 1981 was okay. But I am pretty darn sure that lots of people are going to say different following the next price crash, when they have lost most of their retirement money and have no means to get it back other than to bring lawsuits against the people who promoted Buy-and-Hold in defiance of the peer-reviewed research for 35 years.
We are in a sticky situation, Anonymous. The Buy-and-Holders are good people. They messed up. It happens. Unfortunately, in this particular case the mess-up ruined millions of lives, it caused vast amounts of human misery. We are all going to have to pull together to put our economic and political system back together again. That’s the bottom line. That’s what matters.
I am going to do what I can do to help every single person end up in the best possible place in which he or she can land given the circumstances that apply. That’s my job, as I see it.
I cannot say that Bogle didn’t read the e-mails. I believe he read them. I can say that it is theoretically possible but the longest of long shots that he did not read the e-mails. But even in that case he knew about Mel Lindauer from long before I even came on the scene. So we still end up in the same place, with Bogle failing to speak up about a very serious matter and thereby causing the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history. And even if none of that were so, you have the 35 years of peer-reviewed research and the Nobel prize that was awarded to Shiller. If you are going to say that Bogle never heard of Robert Shiller and never realized that he had a responsibility to reform Buy-and-Hold to reflect this “revolutionary” (Shiller’s word) research, you might as well get about the business of searching for Nicole Simpson’s real killer while you are at it. I mean, come on.
We will find out at the trial precisely what Bogle knew and when he knew it. Everyone who has been paying even a tiny bit of attention knows that he knew more than enough to know that there was a lot of funny business going on and that he had a responsibility to take action and that he failed to do so and that millions of lives have been destroyed as a result.
I am going to do everything in my power to help my good friend Jack out of a jam that he has gotten himself into. Doing “everything” does not include committing felonies myself. To expect that of me is flat-out insane stuff, stuff that only a feverish Goon brain could consider even the most remote possibility.
I will do everything I can to help out all of my Buy-and-Hold friends and all of my Goon friends. No more. And no less.
I have no other even halfway reasonable options available to me.
My best wishes.