“Bogle Associates with People Who Make Death Threats and Fails to Speak Up About It. That’s What Gives the Goons the Power They Possess Today.”

Set forth below are the words of a comment that I recently put to the Goon Central board:

do you really think any reputable university would pay any heed to anything anonymous individuals we’re saying about one of their employees? 

Wade didn’t say that he thought that the officials at his University would necessarily believe everything that you Goons said. He said that he was concerned that his career would be done harm all the same because they just wouldn’t like the controversy and they wouldn’t like having to deal with the crazy situation. Since it was his work creating the problem, he would be punished.

Yes, I find that believable. I once compared Greaney’s behavior threatening a woman at Motley Fool to the behavior of a rapist. The others at the board wanted to help their friend but they didn’t want to report Greaney. Why? It was for the same reason that many women don’t want to report rapes. There are intense social pressures not to do so. Rape is such a horrible crime that all in society affected by it are ashamed about what happened. So we look to blame the victim — she must have done something to bring this on. Wade was afraid that he would be blamed for having brought on the smear campaigns against him. There are Buy-and-Holders (and perhaps even some Valuation-Informed Indexers) who would have said: “Wade must have done something.” I don’t think Wade is entirely wrong about that.

It was not solely the threats made by the Goons that caused Wade to flip. Six other factors are: (1) the lack of a positive reaction to his research by the majority of posters at Bogleheads; (2) the charges by Mel Linduaer that he had engaged in unethical research practices and the failure of other community members to stand up to Mel; (3) the feelings of envy that Wade knew he would inspire in his peers if he were put up for a Nobel prize at his age; (4) the failure of Bogle to speak up about Mel’s attacks and about the threats made by the Greaney Goons; (5) Wade’s experiences seeing what had happened to other Valuation-Informed Indexers, including myself, and the intense, burning hate that had been directed at them by Buy-and-Holders; and (6) Wade’s lack of understanding of many aspects of the Valuation-Informed Indexing model.

It was the combined effect of all these factors that caused the flip. The threats were the trigger and the threats tell the most compelling story. It is amazing to hear that such threats were made in public and that Wade did not call the police when they were made. It is a compelling part of the story and the threat element of the story suggests the other elements because Wade’s failure to call the police informs the listener that something exceedingly odd is going on.

You ask whether what the Goons did could have mattered. He flipped, didn’t he? And Shiller to this day holds back on telling us all he knows about stock investing, doesn’t he? And the bans at the 15 boards and blogs remain in place to this day, don’t they? And Mel Lindauer and John Greaney retain posting rights to this day, don’t they? And the economic crisis continues to this day, doesn’t it? And there are still people to this day who recommend Buy-and-Hold strategies, are there not? And the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies remain uncorrected, do they not? And Wade now buries the valuation question in the research he publishes so that it will not attract too much attention or controversy, does he not?

Yes, what the Goons do matters.

Not because of the inherent power of the Goons. The Goons have little inherent power. If Bogle spoke up about Lindauer when I sent my first e-mail to him, there obviously would never have been any threats made against Wade. But Bogle didn’t speak up, did he? That’s the story here.

When Bogle speaks up, it is over. For so long as Bogle fails to speak up, his silence is interpreted by millions of people as an implicit endorsement of the Goon behavior. People trust Bogle and the other experts in this field. They need to see Bogle and the other experts take action to feel confident that what their common sense tells them is so really is so. They need to see Bogle take action against the Goons to understand and accept that the rules of social intercourse that apply in every other area of human endeavor apply in the investing realm as well.

Bogle doesn’t make death threats himself. But Bogle associates with people who make death threats and fails to speak up about it. That’s the problem. That’s what needs to change. That’s what gives the Goons the power they possess today. When Bogle speaks up, all the rest of us will feel comfortable speaking up. When Bogle speaks up, the fever will break and we will all make it together to the other side of The Big Black Mountain and a thing that has brought us a lot of bad over the course of 10 years will begin very quickly bringing us a lot of good and will continue doing so for a long, long time.

Bogle needs to call out Mel Linduaer and John Greaney in the way that I have called out Mel Linduaer and John Greaney. It doesn’t matter much what Bogle says about Valuation-Informed Indexing. He needs to behave re the Lindauer/Greaney matter in the manner in which Arnott said he has always behaved in the presence of Arnott. He can disagree on substance. He must act like a gentleman on process questions. He must come out strongly in opposition to death threats and defamation and board bannings and threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs. When he does that, the substance questions will take care of themselves.

We can handle the substance questions so long as normal process rules apply. We cannot handle Jack Bogle attending functions with people who have put up posts in “defense” of Mel Linduaer and John Greaney and saying nothing about their behavior. That failure to speak up sends a signal that imprisons us all. It is so far outside of our social norms that we cannot process it. People fear what a John Bogle, with all his connections and influence and money, can do to them if they “cross” him. People need to know in no uncertain terms that Bogle is on the side of those who want the sorts of individuals who have put up posts in “defense” of Lindauer and Greaney serving prison terms rather than posting on our boards. Only Jack himself can change the public perception that has grown over the past 10 years that he is ethically compromised re this matter because of his own feelings of personal pride over having developed the Buy-and-Hold concept.

Yes, the Goons matter. They shouldn’t, that’s certainly fair to say. But today they do. Because people who do matter have failed to disassociate themselves from the Goons in the matter in which they would if we were talking about any subject other than the errors that were made in the development of the Buy-and-Hold concept (because all the research needed to get it 100 percent right was not available at the time the concept was initially formulated).

Rob

Comments

  1. Evidence Based Investing says

    But Bogle associates with people who make death threats and fails to speak up about it.

    Do you have evidence to back that up that you are able to share with the community?

  2. Rob says

    You need to read the material at the link, Evidence.

    I can point you to it. I cannot transmit it into your brain.

    There has to be a little effort exerted on your end.

    I wish you well, in any event.

    Rob

  3. banned plop contributor says

    I don’t know about EBI, but I took the time to read it, Rob.

    And am dumber for having done so, I might add.

    No where in there is there ANY evidence of the claims you make regarding threats, supposed crimes, alleged fraud, open corruption, etc. Nothing but the wind full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  4. Rob says

    No where in there is there ANY evidence of the claims you make regarding threats, supposed crimes, alleged fraud, open corruption, etc.

    My thought here is that perhaps it is a vision thing.

    Have you had an eye check-up lately, Banned?

    We’re all getting older as time passes.

    No?

    I wish you all the best that this life has to offer a person, in any event.

    Rob

  5. Evidence Based Investing says

    I can point you to it.

    No you can’t. If you could, you would.

    Instead you point me to a page with dozens of links, none of which are to death threats.

  6. Rob says

    If you read the material at the page, you wouldn’t say that, Evidence.

    You need to read the material that appears on your computer screen when you click the link I supplied you. That’s the reason I supplied it — so that you could do just that!

    Don’t let the bad guys get you down, man.

    Rob

  7. sparky says

    Rob,

    Your link merely goes to another article in which you claim death threats, yet it also lacks evidence.

    As to your ongoing campaign, is this just one big “goof” in which one day you will say, “I was just kidding” or are you really the mental case you appear to be?

  8. Rob says

    Your link merely goes to another article in which you claim death threats, yet it also lacks evidence.

    Are you sure?

    Rob

  9. Rob says

    is this just one big “goof”

    The thing about the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies getting the numbers wildly wrong, that was indeed intended as a goof.

    I was just lucky.

    God protects drunks, children, and idiots.

    Whachagondo?

    Rob

  10. sparky says

    Rob,

    You are your worst enemy. The only thing you prove is the comments people make about you.

  11. Rob says

    You are your worst enemy.

    It all started one morning in May when I felt a strange and yet compelling desire to post honestly on safe withdrawal rates.

    No one had done it before, Sparky. No one had dared.

    But I felt strong, clear-minded, beyond it all.

    I did it! I did it! Twice! Three Times! Who knows how often?

    It turns out that there is a price to be paid in this world for rising above one’s station.

    I am a beaten man, a clown, a captive, a loser.

    And I should have known. I could have known.

    If only I had listened more closely to my good friend Jack Bogle!

    That fellow knows how to tell the truth without really telling the truth, if you know what I mean.

    Don’t do as I have done, children!

    Stay within the limits. Listen to the Masters. Learn where the lines are and Do Not Cross Them.

    Rob

  12. sparky says

    Rob,

    You are right and everyone else is wrong, correct? Like Hillary said, “it is a vast right-wing conspiracy” and you are the victim.

  13. Rob says

    A better way of saying it would be: “Everyone is right and we all need to stop being such wusses about saying it out loud,” Sparky.

    Take a look at the 140 endorsements of my work in the “People Are Talking” section of the site. That ain’t me appearing under 140 different names, Sparky. That’s 140 different smart and good people who concluded that the price you pay matters when you buy stocks just as much as it matters when you buy anything else.

    Bogle agrees with me, Sparky. He’s the King of Buy-and-Hold and he agrees with me. I learned about the errors in the Old School studies by reading Bogle’s book, for heaven’s sake. It wasn’t me who taught Bogle, it was Bogle who taught me.

    So why am I now 10 years ahead of my friend Jack Bogle in my understanding of how stock investing works? Because once I learned that Buy-and-Hold was a big pile of smelly garbage, I moved on! Jack has not moved on. He is stuck in what the research was thought to show back in the 1970s. He needs to move on! All his friends should be encouraging him to do so.

    You don’t believe in Buy-and-Hold, Sparky. If you truly believed, you would never have advanced a single death threat or a single act of defamation or a single demand for a board banning or a single threat to get a single academic researcher fired from his job. You do these things not because you possess total confidence but because your confidence is so weak that you cannot bear to hear Buy-and-Hold challenged. That’s not confidence, it’s the lack of confidence.

    Buy-and-Hold died on the evening of August 27, 2002, Sparky. That was the night that Greaney put forward his first death threat. Ideas that work don’t get “defended” through the use of death threats. Give me a friggin’ break. It was over on the evening of August 27, 2002. Since then it’s just been playing out the string.

    I love all my Buy-and-Holf friends. I respect them. I admire them. I am grateful for that they have taught me.

    That’s why I treat them in the manner that we all treat people we respect. I demand of them better behavior than they today demand of themselves. I want to see the Buy-and-Holders get their self-respect back. I want to see the Buy-and-Holders making positive contributions to our understanding of stock investing once again. I want to see the Buy-and-Holders directing less mental energy to what their prison sentences are likely to be and more to the latest findings of the academic research.

    Get back to where you once belonged, Sparky. That’s my advice.

    Rob

  14. Rob says

    You’re hurting because you have been taken, Sparky.

    I am not the one who took you.

    It was your Get Rich Quick impulse that was responsible for you being taken.

    And the people who told you that it was all going to be different this time and that those who followed Buy-and-Hold strategies were going to turn out okay.

    I am the one who has been trying to un-take you.

    I am the one who has been pointing out the dangers of Buy-and-Hold.

    I am the one who has been shooting straight with you.

    You hate me with a burning passion for doing it. But I am not capable in good conscience of playing it any other way. That’s the freakin’ job!

    Do you see?

    Rob

  15. banned plop contributor says

    Bennett:

    “Is it the fact that Wade published research worthy of a Nobel prize that hurt his reputation?”

    * We can just rack this entire question as a negative the minute that we are done parsing the first clause: like a lot of folks, Wade has published some interesting (but frankly pedestrian) articles, mostly based fully on the prior work of others, and then merely synthesizing or taking a somewhat different perspective on it. Hardly Nobel prize stuff under any circumstance. Being charitable to the questioner and continuing to read, NONE of Wade’s work — Nobel-worthy or otherwise — has hurt his reputation at all.

    Bennett then goes on: “Or is it that he agreed to post dishonestly and aid the 10-year cover up of the errors in the Old School retirement studies that hurt his reputation?”

    * Just as with the first question, this can readily be dispensed with in the negative after reading just the first clause — Wade has (based on public knowledge available to date)NEVER posted dishonestly in his work, period. So the rest of the question is irrelevant, and the answer remains “no,” anyway.

    Bennett then administers what he figures is his coup de grace: “I say it is the latter”

    However, anyone capable of logical thought realizes that the master of fabrication and creator of daily false dichotomies has merely ginned up yet another tissue thin and easily refuted, yet still quite ugly, attempted smear of someone who merely elected to nicely and politely dissociate themselves with Bennett once it became clear that they were dealing with an insane person. There is no fact or accuracy in any of Bennett’s many slanders. They all stem fro ma case of extreme butthurt at having been (properly!) ignored by anyone of repute in the financial field, as soon as it’s clear that Rob is, to put it charitably, a layman dabbler with no direct logical or arithmetical basis for any of what he claims.

    His actions towards Wade and others remind me vividly of the scarily psychotic response of the paramour in ‘Fatal Attraction’ to the Douglas character’s attempts to break free of her desperate clutches:

    “I will not be ignored!”

    And, clearly, so it is with Bennett, no matter what the personal cost, and no matter how LITTLE he has to actually add to the dialog.

  16. banned plop contributor says

    Actually, reading it again fresh this morning, I very much have to agree!

    Thank you.

    I assume if you had any refutation at all for what was said, you would have provided it in your response.

  17. Rob says

    Hey!

    If it weren’t for you Goons, I wouldn’t get any comments here at all.

    I figure I better start being nicer to you guys (and witches)!

    Rob

  18. banned plop contributor says

    It would be a start.

    Notifying Loudoun County Mental Heath Services that you need some assistance would be an even better first step, by my reckoning.

  19. sparky says

    Rob, as to your last comments on the first, you are wrong. I am not hurting. I am actually doing very well., both financially as well as mentally. Based on what I have read, I suspect you cannot say the same.

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