“I Did Not Seek Out This ‘Controversy.’ It Was Thrust Upon Me.”

Earlier blog entries have described communications I have had with the author of the Pop Economics blog re a Guest Blog Entry that I wrote entitled Valuation-Informed Indexing Is Risk-Diminished Investing.  On Wednesday night, Pop wrote to tell me that he has accepted the new version of the Guest Blog Entry (entitled “Buy-and-Hold Masks Investing Risk”) for posting at his site. He has not made a firm decision on a publication date. Set forth below is the text of the e-mail that I sent to Pop on March 25 in response to his acceptance e-mail:


That all sounds perfect.

I especially like the part about you putting forward an introduction noting the “controversy.” This is EXACTLY the right way to play it. I of course understand that there are a lot of smart and good people who do not agree with my views on investing, Pop. They need to somehow signal to their readers that they do not personally endorse the views that I put forward. At the same time, they should not be prohibiting the expression of those views at their blogs. Why? Because the only way that people can know both sides of the story is to hear both sides of the story. If at one time in history everyone has one view (and there was a time in history when this was pretty much the case re Buy-and-Hold) and we all adopt a practice that views we do not agree with may not be aired, we are stuck for all time with the wrong view that we happened to adopt at a time when our knowledge was imperfect. It is by letting new ideas be considered that over time we all move to adoption of new ideas.

I could be wrong, Pop. I am not God. If I am wrong, that will come out in public discussions and that will of course be a good thing. If I am not wrong, it will come out that the Buy-and-Holders are wrong. That of course also would be a good thing in the event that they really are wrong. The key today is just getting the ball rolling. We need to just discuss these matters in civil and warm and friendly and reasoned (and yet spirited!) conversations. Your approach points the way to a better place for every single personal finance blogger. I have hopes that some others might watch what you do and elect to follow such a course themselves.

And please understand that I did not seek out this “controversy.” It was thrust upon me. The reality is that there are many who agree with me. It’s certainly not a majority or anything close to it. But minorities have rights to express their sincere views. And I am in circumstances in which I would be letting those people down if I were to agree not to post my sincere views. Actually, my personal view is that I let down those on “the other side” too if I agree to do that because those on “the other side” need to be challenged to continue to learn and we all need to continue to learn about investing for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, thanks for handling it in the way in which you have elected to handle it. I will be proud to have my words appear at your fine blog.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments links could be nofollow free.