Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to a blog entry at this site:
And how exactly will a ‘mafia’ crush those who try to post anonymously here?
You are making a legitimate point with your use of the word “anonymously” here, What. I have said on earlier occasions that people don’t speak up about the trickery of the Buy-and-Hold MAfia because they are afraid of what will be done to them and to their careers if they do. You are making the point that anyone who is afraid of what will happen to his or her career could post anonymously here. That’s so.
It is fair to say that it is not ONLY fear that is holding us back.
I’ve made the parallel before to the situation that applied in the days when people with black skin could not choose any seat on a public bus, but were required to move back to the section of the bus reserved for them.
Why didn’t millions of people speak up about that? They knew it was wrong. It’s not exactly hard to figure out that that sort of thing is wrong. So how did we as a society “get away” with that sort of thing for so many years?
Many were afraid to speak out, just as many are today afraid to speak out against Buy-and-Hold.
But many didn’t speak out against racist laws even to their own friends. They weren’t afraid of their own friends, were they? Why didn’t they speak out?
THEY WERE ASHAMED.
They were too afraid to go public. They felt that racism was so ingrained in our legal system that there was zero chance that it could ever be overturned. So they rationalized. They told themselves that speaking out publicly was not going to do any good. That made them feel ashamed. Given their feelings of shame, they didn’t want to talk about this stuff with their friends any more than they wanted to go public. They kept it zipped.
And many who agree with me that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage keep it zipped today.
We need an act that gets everyone’s attention. An “I Was Wrong” speech by Jack Bogle would obviously do the job. An announcement of your prison sentence would do the job. A front-page article in the New York Times about the Campaign of Terror would do the job.
EVERYONE in this field wants the Ban on Honest Posting lifted, What. I learned about the errors in the Old School SWR studies by reading Jack Bogle’s book. I think it would be fair to say that he has at least an inkling that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage or he never would have put the language in the book that taught me what I needed to know. But he also obviously does not feel comfortable coming clean today.
It’s the same with Bernstein. Bernstein told us in an e-mail many years before the Wall Street Journal published an article on the errors in the Old School studies that anyone who was giving thought to using one of those studies to plan a retirement would be well-advised to “FuhGedDaBouDit!’ I think it would be fair to say that he at least suspects that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage.
It’s the same with Burns. Scott’s first words in response to my first e-mail to him were “You’re right.” He asked me for my telephone number because he wanted to do an interview with me and then write up the story in his column. Someone obviously reached him before that column was put to print. But I think it would be fair to say that our friend Scott Burns too suspects that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage.
It’s the same with Larry Swedroe. He was kicked off the Bogleheads Forum because he posted honesty there and Mel Lindauer did not take kindly to it. Then he came back with his tail between his legs and promised never, ever, ever to do it again and now he gets heavy promotion for all his books there. I think it would be fair to say that Larry has more than a rough idea as to why I say that Buy-and-Hold is a big pile of smelly garbage.
The biggest reason why people don’t speak up is that they are scared.
But, yes, there is more to it than that.
Once people don’t speak up (either because they are scared or because they just flat-out don’t know – there are millions of ordinary people who have NO IDEA that there is 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research showing that there is precisely zero chance that a Buy-and-Hold strategy could ever work for a single long-term investor), they become ASHAMED that they have failed to speak out.
Posting anonymously doesn’t help those who feel ashamed of having failed to speak out for so long, does it?
Many people believe that we cannot win this battle. They believe that the Wall Street Con Man are just too rich and too powerful for anyone ever to get away with posting honestly on investing-related issues.
But you know what?
If those people are right, we are all going down anyway!
So it doesn’t matter.
If those people are right, the Wall Street Con Men are going down in the same Second Great Depression that is going to take What and that is going to take Rob. So it doesn’t matter!
What matter is that we do have a chance DESPITE the power and wealth of the Wall Street Con Men.
And what gives me hope is all the signs that I have seen that the Wall Street Con Men themselves want to see all this ugliness brought to a close.
No one held a gun to Jack Bogle’s head and forced him to include in this book the words that showed me that the numbers in the Old School SWR studies were wildly wrong.
No one held a gun to Scott Burns’ head and forced him to respond to my e-mail to him by saying “You’re right” and by asking me for my telephone number.
No one held a gun to Bill Bernstein’s head and forced him to respond to Ataloss’s e-mail by saying that anyone using one of the Old School studies to plan a retirement would be well-advised to “FuhGedDaBouDit!”
No one held a gun to Wade Pfau’s head and forced him to co-publish with me the most important research published in this field in 30 years, research that shows us all how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent.
Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus 10 years before the incident that made her famous as a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.
People were still too afraid and ashamed to come to her support in those days. We had to wait for another 10 years to pass.
After the passage of another 10 years, people were ready. Then things happened.
I won’t change the world of investing on my own power, What. It is going to be a community event.
We are not ready as a community today to take this amazing step forward.
We will be soon.
My guess is that it is going to happen following the next price crash.
I sure hope so!
My best wishes to you and to yours, my old friend.
Rob, the Rosa Parks of Personal Finance