Set forth below are the words of a comment that I recently put to the Goon Central board:
You are not the center of the universe.
Yes and no, Dab.
I cannot pull this off on my own. In that sense it is true that I am not the center of the universe. I could send e-mails to 10 million people and I could write 10 million articles and I could record 10 million podcasts and it won’t matter if I do not persuade at least a small number of my fellow humans to join hands with me and work together on this important project. You got that one right.
The other side of the story is that nothing great was ever accomplished without a single human mind dedicating itself to achievement of that goal. That’s how it happens. That’s the only way it ever can happen. If I am going to prevail, it is going to be because LOTS of people support my efforts. The way Yip likes to put it is that I am going to need to see comments appearing at my blog. He’s right about that in one sense. When I prevail, those comments will be there. If we never see the comments, I never will prevail. So he is making reference to something of great import.
Where I do not agree with you is re your suggestion that, because I cannot prevail alone and because I do not have comments at my blog today, I should give up. Somebody has to do this, Dab. If no one does this job, we all go down together. That is a terrible outcome for every single one of us. So that possibility must be rejected as the first order of business. It may well be that it will be hard for me to pull this off given the lack of comments and the intensity of the people standing in my way and all that sort of thing. It HAS been hard. It has been very, very, very hard. I give you all that. What I say is that I must continue pressing on no matter how hard it has been or how hard it is today or how hard it will become tomorrow.
There is no option here other than success, Dab. There is no Plan B because there can be no Plan B. Letting our society fall into the Second Great Depression is not an acceptable outcome. That’s out. So I soldier on NO MATTER HOW DISCOURAGING THINGS APPEAR AT TIMES. I don’t like it. I am trying the best I can to cope with the realities of a world that I did not create. It crushed my heart when I was banned from Motley Fool. That was May 2003. I allowed myself a little cry into my pillow. Then I pulled myself away from the pillow, brushed myself off, put bandages on my wounds and went out looking for the site of the next battle. Giving up is not an option. The stakes are too high.
We both know that there are not lots of people willing to say publicly “Rob Bennett is 100 percent right in everything he says about stock investing.” Depending on how you use the words, you wouldn’t be entirely off base to say that there is NO ONE willing to say those precise words. My brother Steven, whom I love and who loves me, said in response to me telling him the Rob Arnott story, that the difference between Arnott and Bogle and his brother is that “they have a life and you don’t.” So there you have it — My own brother is a Goon!” I can cry warm tears into my pillow one more time if that gives me some temporary relief, Dab. But the bottom line here is that, when I tire of the crying game, I am going to need to work up the energy to send some more e-mails. Because there ain’t too many other choices open to me.
That’s where things stand on the morning of January 6, 2013.
Most of what I report above is bleak stuff. Full truth be told, though, I don’t think I am being a Pollyanna when I say that the realities are not all bleak. Yes, I am hurting. Yes, I lack a life according to my brother Steven’s definition of the term (I am probably too close to the situation to speak objectively as to whether he is right or not — I do not have the option of giving up so I cannot in fairness to myself entertain consideration of the question of whether I today have a life or not). But, yes, there have been huge changes in a positive direction since the morning of May 13, 2002. You know what they have been as well as I do, so I don’t need to recount them here. Those things are real too, as real as the board bannings and the insults and the lack of book sales and all the rest. Both sides have their little “victories” they can point to. So there! Anyway, it’s not all bleak. If I can acknowledge how much it hurts to have my head slammed against a wall 20 times a day 365 days a year for 10 years running, I can also in fairness acknowledge that those on “your side” have had their heads slammed against a wall one or two or three times over the course of the past 10 years. It doesn’t make us even. But it makes us — well, something.
What it has to make us to bring this all to a successful conclusion is — Equally in desire of a successful conclusion.
That’s where this is headed. There is going to come a day when “your side” is going to want to take this to a good place. Not because I have so many people contributing at my blog. Because I cannot get that without the cooperation and aid and encouragement of many people on “your side.” You’ll have to decide for your own reasons to give me that cooperation and aid and encouragement. When you do (I am not permitted to entertain the possibility that this will never happen, for reasons outlined above), I will get comments, plenty of them. Then there will be peace, a wonderful and exciting and rewarding and enriching peace.
You might be inclined to think this will never happen. Why would the side that has done such a great job of smashing my head into a wall 20 times a day for 10 years now ever want to start doing things that would help and encourage me? There’a a good reason, Dab. It’s because the work that I do helps “your side” as much as it helps “my side.” The secret, hidden truth here is that there is only one side. We all want the same things. John Bogle is a hero to the middle-class. He is the second most important investment analyst in history (in my personal assessment — I won’t argue too strenuously with someone who puts him first). Bogle’s work becomes 20 times more important when he snaps the piece that has been missing until today into place. So Bogle wins when Bogle starts helping and encouraging Rob Bennett’s efforts to do just that. And of course everyone associated with Bogle’s ideas also wins. Big time.
So I am going to win!
I am sorry if that breaks your heart, Dab. But that is the way it is. For Bogle to win and for Dab to win, Rob Bennett has to win. God elected to place us on this planet together and He expects us to figure out a way to make this all work no matter how much we get on each other’s nerves from time to time.
I win on the last page. So does Bogle. So does Dab.
There is no other way this can turn out. I know because I sneaked a peek at the last page before I put up that fateful first post.