Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to the Joe Taxpayer blog:
Funny, how certain things get people moving. I simply reference our meeting, and the concept Rob promotes and suddenly, a torrent of comments. I guess the other folk I met, and mentioned, weren’t as controversial.
The cover-up of the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research in this field, which had already been going on for 21 years when I put up my famous May 13, 2002, post, cannot continue in a world in which the millions of people who use the internet to learn about the world are free to use this powerful tool to protect themselves from such cover-ups.
I don’t approve of what the Goons do. But I understand that they have only two options: (1) continue with the intimidation tactics; or (2) permit millions of people to learn investing realities that they very much want to learn about. And, if they choose Option (2), they are not Goons anymore, are they?
It’s a strange story. I certainly don’t say different.
But, as with anything else, it is possible to make sense of it if you study it long enough and in sufficient enough depth.
The Goons don’t themselves have confidence in Buy-and-Hold. They follow it themselves. They are not recommending anything they don’t personally make use of. But there is a voice in their heads that tells them “this cannot work!” and that scares them to death. I hold up a mirror to them and say “why not pay attention to that voice?” I bring on pain not because I want to hurt them. I bring on pain because the pain they feel coming to terms with the dangers of Buy-and-Hold strategies will end up being a lot less than the pain they will feel if they continue to ignore those dangers.
We have as a society been working up our courage to deal with these matters for 11 years now (it’s 32 years if you count back to the publication of Shiller’s research in 1981). We’re not there today. I wish we were. But we are today a whole big bunch closer to where we all deep in our hearts want to be than we were on the morning of May 13, 2002. I believe that there is a good chance that we can get to where we all deep in our hearts want to be prior to the onset of the Second Great Depression. If we don’t, I believe we will make it there soon after that extremely unfortunate milestone.
Yes, this one gets people moving. Few are willing to talk about it intelligently and reasonably and civilly. We talk about it in all sorts of strange ways. But we don’t engage in the strange behavior because we don’t care. We care deeply.
So long as we care so much, and so long as the Forbidden Research is so promising, we all should take comfort in these signs that we will in time make it to where we all deep in our hearts want to be. There’s a lot of surface ugliness. But the core realities here are the most amazingly positive realities we have ever experienced in the history of personal finance.
Think of the ugly stuff as the final cry of a “strategy” that died intellectually over three decades ago. If only we had gotten about the business of burying the body when it first began stinking up the joint!