I have been sending e-mails to numerous people telling them about my article on The Silencing of Academic Researcher Wade Pfau by the Buy-and-Hold Mafia. Set forth below is the text of a response that I received from Law Professor Brad Borden, followed by my reply to Brad:
This is interesting. I’m curious, however, to know why you chose to contact me.
Thanks for your response.
There is no particular reason why I contacted you in particular.
The entire story is very strange. I have been working on this for 10 years. I have had mixed reactions to the work I have done.
Those who “get it” (a small number in percentage terms) view this as the most important advance ever achieved in the investing field. There are numerous smart and good people who see the implications as being very positive and very far-reaching. Those reactions naturally make it impossible for me to give this up. I want this work to be recognized and to help people live better lives.
Those who do NOT get it (a high percentage of the population, perhaps 90 percent, and a group that also includes many very smart and very good people) see only limited value here or (in not a small number of cases) react with hostility.
The high percentage of indifferent and (especially) hostile reactions has made it impossible for me to spread the word effectively. For example, I built a very large Retire Early discussion-board community at the Motley Fool site. The board was destroyed by arguments over the merits of these ideas. A small group thought these ideas generated the best discussions ever held at the board. A large group preferred to see the entire board destroyed rather than to permit the discussions to continue.
The short version of all this is — These ideas generate intensely emotional reactions. To spread the ideas, I need to find a way to work around this problem.
My current effort is to contact all sorts of people by e-mail and to answer any questions they have and to try to gain support that way. Since it is only one person taking in the idea, there is none of the negative group dynamic that has poisoned discussions so many times in the past. If the people who I win over are as intense in their enthusiasm as some of those I have won over in the past, even a small number of supporters might make a huge difference.
I am not focusing on one type of person because I have not found any one type of person that is particularly open to hearing about the ideas. Some investing experts love this stuff and some hate it. Some journalists love this stuff and some hate it. Some economists love this stuff and some hate it.
I fully understand that my explanation sounds odd. This entire matter is very odd. I have never seen anything remotely like it. If the ideas are sound (there is a mountain of evidence that they are, at least in my assessment), it is imperative that I spread the word before more damage is done to our economy through the promotion of the discredited conventional investing ideas. But the normal ways of building support for personal finance ideas (getting experts on board, writing articles, going to blogs, etc.) just do not work for this particular concept. I am trying something different just to see whether the effort bears good fruit or not.
You don’t possess any particular characteristics that make you a good person to contact other than that you obviously possess a strong intellect and are involved in at least a tangential way with some matters that relate in some way to public policy. If you end up feeling that you learned something, I will of course be 100 percent happy. If you prefer that I not contact you again, I am of course okay with that. If you ask questions, I will do what I can to respond effectively. If somewhere down the line you become a supporter, I will be thrilled about anything you can do to move the ball forward. I of course understand that that’s an extreme long-shot. My belief is that I only need a small number of those extreme long-shot bets to come through to make a big positive difference. And I think that in time I will see a small number of these “bets” come through for me.
Sorry for the long explanation. I feel that you merit as clear an answer as I am able to provide. Please don’t feel any obligation at all to do anything further. The vast majority of those I contact do not respond in any way. You have already made me feel good by saying “this is interesting.” If by any chance you feel a desire to explore any aspect of this in greater depth, certainly feel free to shoot me back a follow-up e-mail with more questions or concerns or reactions or whatever.
And thanks for giving me an opportunity to work that all out on paper!