Mike Piper (author of the Oblivious Investor blog) sent me an e-mail on November 6, 2009, in response to the e-mail described in yesterday’s blog entry. Mike had given me permission to quote the entire texts of earlier e-mails. But in this case he asked that I not quote the entire e-mail. So I will summarize his response and include quotes only when they are needed to provide helpful context or color.
I included more quotes from the e-mail than is my usual practice in cases in which I am paraphrasing rather than quoting an entire e-mail. The subject matter here is delicate and in reporting on Mike’s take re several matters I did not feel comfortable using my words rather than Mike’s in letting people know of the message he communicated. In the event that Mike asks me to modify this report to use more paraphrasing and less of his own words and suggests to me an approach to paraphrasing that does the job that needs to be done here in a reasonably effective way, I will do so. I have not contacted him about this because my strong suspicion is that he would prefer to put the matter behind him to the extent that it is possible for him to do so. My belief is that Mike would prefer that he not be quoted on this matter at all. But I believe that the public policy matter at issue here — the public’s need to learn about the academic research showing that Buy-and-Hold does not work and The Stock Selling Industry’s efforts to keep knowledge of it bottled up for thirty years — is sufficiently important that a report is required. I have made a serious effort to balance the competing interests at play here. It is my belief that Mike will generally agree even though his personal preference is not to be quoted at all re this particular matter.
Mike said that “honestly, I have no idea what you’re talking about” re the threats of physical violence and other intimidation tactics used by Mel Lindauer (co-author of The Bogleheads Guide to Investing) and John Greaney (author of the safe withdrawal rate study posted at the www.RetireEarlyHomePage.com site) and their “defenders” as part of their effort to block honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and other valuation-related topics at the Retire Early and Indexing discussion-board communities and in the personal finance blogosphere. He explained that “I write a blog about investing” and assured me that “no death threat have ever been made on my blog, nor will any be permitted in the future.”
Mike added: “Please, if somebody has been making death threats to you, contact law enforcement authorities.”
He stated that “I refuse to become involved in any of this. Your bringing this stuff up with me makes me terribly uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with me.”
Finally, he said that: “I’m not comfortable continuing correspondence with you or having you comment on my blog. I believe that you mean well. But your involvement apparently brings all sorts of things that I just don’t want anything to do with.”
In explaining why he did not want his entire e-mail quoted, he said that “I do not want to be linked to this topic in any way.”