Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to the Goon Central board:
Say that you were Bernie Madoff’s best friend in the days before he was sent to prison. You came to understand that he was engaged in fraud.
You mention it to him. He freaks.
The easy thing is not to say anything else. The downside with taking the easy way is that your friend ends up serving a long prison sentence.
The hard way is saying stuff that causes your good friend to freak. The upside with the freak-out is that, once he gets over the freak-out, you can work with him to bring things to a better place.
John Bogle is a friggin’ genius, okay? I rank him as the second most important investing analyst in history. If someone wanted to argue that he should be first, I wouldn’t object too strongly. A reasonable case could be made that he ranks first. So you cannot be any more of a John Bogle fan than Rob Bennett. Are we clear re that much, Sparky?
John Bogle is also human.
John Bogle has made mistakes.
John Bogle played the lead role in pushing the investing strategy that caused the economic crisis.
What to do?
What we need to do is to help our friend John Bogle understand the realities so that he can take things to a better place both for himself and for all the rest of us.
John Bogle did not wake up one morning and say to himself:”You know what would be fun? Why don’t I start the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history, maybe we’ll get lucky and it will turn into the Second Great Depression.” That’s insane. That never happened. Are we still clear?
The guy is a friggin’ genius. He has done an amazing amount of good work. He’s also human. He made a mistake (that thousands of other smart and good people also made, to be sure). So what do we do now?
You say we leave our good friend Jack Bogle to the wolves. We let the economy collapse. We let our friend Jack ruin his reputation. We watch millions of people’s lives get destroyed as we fall into the Second Great Depression.
THAT”S NOT WHAT JACK WOULD WANT US TO DO IF HE WERE CAPABLE OF THINKING STRAIGHT RE THIS STUFF TODAY, SPARKY.
He’s drunk, you know? He’s suffering from cognitive dissonance. That’s like being drunk. He is not capable of thinking clearly and making good decisions. It’s like our friend is drunk and wants to drive home and he is reaching for the car keys.
A friend doesn’t say: “Have a nice ride!”
A friend says: “Give me those keys, you are sleeping in my guest room tonight!”
Please tell me you get it this time, Sparky.
We don’t let our friends destroy themselves.
WE DO NOT.
If our friend Jack feels that he must continue to advocate Buy-and-Hold, that can be an okay thing or even a good thing.
BUT NO MORE DEATH THREATS.
AND NO MORE DEFAMATION.
AND NO MORE BOARD BANNINGS.
AND NO MORE THREATS TO GET ACADEMIC RESEARCHERS FIRED FROM THEIR JOBS.
Why? Because we are meanines?
No. Because we are nicies.
Friends do not let friends drive drunk. And friends do not let the pioneers in development of research-based investing strategies destroy themselves through the use of death threats and defamation and board bannings and threats to get academic researchers fired from their jobs. Any case that our friend Jack Bogle is going to make for Buy-and-Hold he is going to make pursuant to the published rules of every one of our boards and blogs. Jack Bogle is going to follow the rules of discourse that apply among all civilized people of the world.
Please do not make the mistake of thinking that I am offering a suggestion here and seeking your input.
I AM TELLING YOU HOW IT IS GOING TO BE.
You dig, man?
Valuation-Informed Indexing is the future. If you want to say that civilized discourse is the future, it’s fine if you say it that way. It takes us to the same place. Say it the ideal way or say it the cautious and tentative and only minimally acceptable way. But drop the know-it-all attitude. That doesn’t fly. Not in the face of millions of ruined middle-class lives.
Please reach deep into your heart and respond with all the love of which you are capable. Love is the answer here, my old friend. I am not guessing. I am SURE.