Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
“Mike told me that “there’s nothing I would like more” than to see this matter resolved. Why do you think Mike said that?”
Because, as usual, you take his meaning at cross purposes, probably on purpose. What he clearly meant, and the entire convo in context would likely prove, is he hoped that YOU would ‘resolve’ your own irrational and illogical “issues” in terms of berating and besmirching and disparaging good honest knowledgeable people who have done nothing more than share their knowledge and interest with the world. But sionce you see anyone else’s success as an obstacle to your own pie in the sky dreams, you lash out and attack, thinknig this will somehow elevate yourself. Mike knows it won’t, of course, so that is what he means by ‘hoping to see it resolved’. IT has nothing to do with prison for others who disagree with your nutty approaches, or big speeches from notables publicly saying “I was wrong, let me introduce you to Rob Bennett…,” or truth commissions set up with Hocus as sole trier of fact, etc.
You are loony, AND you are a liar. Do this: ask Mike to send you an email confirming your version of dialog, then print that email IN IT’S ENTIRETY, right here. I double-dog dare ya to do so. Trust me, that’s a post you will not ever make here, because the confirmation simply will not happen.
You are living in a dream world.
So long as Mike does not feel that it is safe for him to post honestly, we cannot go by what he says, Anonymous. So your idea is not helpful. If Bogle gave an “I Was Wrong” speech or, at the very least, an “I Don’t Know for Certain” speech, then, yes, the idea of listening to Mike’s take would be a good one. But we are not there yet.
You can go back to things Mike has said at earlier times. He has provided important clues. Mike did not want to ban me. We engaged in a long e-mail correspondence before he did so. Read those e-mails. Those e-mails tell the story. Mike believes in Buy-and-Hold. Mike does not in his heart believe that he is destroying people’s lives. But Mike also believes that the Ban on Honest Posting is wrong. He is extremely uncomfortable with the ban. That’s where Mike really stands re all this.
I can help provide more context for the things Mike told me when we spoke at the Financial Bloggers Conference. After he said that there is nothing more he would like to see than a resolution of the matter, I asked him to describe practical steps that could be taken. He said that I needed to take down two articles at my site, the article that focuses on Mel Lindauer and the article that focuses on Taylor Larimore. I told him that that was a trivial demand, that I of course would be happy to take those two articles down if doing so would bring about an end to the Ban on Honest Posting.
But I also said that I did not believe that there was any chance that taking down those two articles would really solve the problem. I pointed out that, once the Ban was lifted, I would be posting daily at the Boglehead Forum. And that the safe withdrawal rate issue comes up there frequently. And that, when the SWR issues comes up, I would be posting that the Old School studies get the numbers wrong. I asked Mike what he thought would happen at that point?
That’s when he said that he agreed with me that Mel Linduaer is a “jerk.” He made clear that he wa afraid of Mel and that he would not be giving public voice to his belief that Mel is a jerk. So we both saw that he was not willing to participate in an effort to bring the matter to a successful close.
The Buy-and-Holders believe in Buy-and-Hold, Anonymous. They follow it. That’s an indication of belief.
The problem is that they lack CONFIDENCE in it. There is a voice in their heads that tells them that any strategy that is rooted in a belief that price doesn’t matter cannot possibly work in the real world. I didn’t put that voice in their heads. But I sure do all that I can to support the message being told by that voice. That’s why I am hated by many Buy-and-Holders. Not because they are sure that I am wrong. Because there is a part of them that suspects that I really might be right.
That’s the true story here, Anonymous.
Mike wants to tell the truth. For him, telling the truth means writing articles saying “Buy-and-Hold is the answer.” He believes that and he has both a right and responsibility to say that he believes it. But Mike ALSO believes that he should be permitting posting by people who believe in Valuation-Informed Indexing and it pains him that he has betrayed his deeply felt beliefs re this issue. Mike knows that he has made a terrible mistake.
His problem is that he really did have readers tell him that they would abandon his blog if my posts continued to appear at his site, causing his readers to experience doubt re the strategies that Mike was advocating and that they were following. Mike was put in a position in which he could either make money from his blog or he could run the blog in an honest manner. He was not able to see a way in which honesty and making money could be combined. So he made the choice he made.
Wade Pfau is in the same position. He wants to be honest. He also wants to make a buck doing the work he loves. He should be able to achieve both goals. But the world as it exists in December 2013 does not permit him to achieve both goals, at least not according to his assessment of the realities.
Jack Bogle is in the same position.
Larry Swedroe is in the same position.
Bill Bernstein is in the same position.
Motley Fool is in the same postion.
Index Universe is in the same position.
Early Retirement Forum is in the same position.
Morningstar is in the same position.
We need to solve the problem.
There’s one way that we conduct affairs that applies to every issue other than what the academic research says about how stock investing works. And there is a different way we conduct affairs that applies to our handling of discussions of the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research re stock investing. We need to decide what kind of society we are and then apply rules that make sense given our decision to our handling of stock investing issues as well as our handling of every other issue that comes up.
This is not optional. This is mandatory.
The only thing that is optional is the timing. We can act today or we can delay our decision to act. Delay will cause us all great pain while acting today will cause us all to live far freer and richer lives than we ever before imagined possible. But it is our choice whether to act today or to delay. It doesn’t make any sense to consider any choice other than acting today. But the other choice is available to us whether we decide to act on it or not.
I am not living in a dream world. Unless you consider the entire history of the United States to be a dream world. Some do indeed believe that our economic and political systems are dream-like in their perfection. In that sense, yes, I am living in a dream world. I am saying that the laws of the United States that have made this such a wonderful country for such a long time should be made applicable to the world of investing advice. But our political and economic systems only SEEM like a dream to those who have never lived under them. Those of us who have experienced their great wisdom and beauty know that the riches that follow from having confidence in our political and economic systems to work things out for us are not the product of mere dreams. Those riches are a dream come true to many of us. And I believe that there will be many who will work to defend those dreams once the threat to them becomes clear enough for them to see what is at stake here.
Anyway, we have the context of Mike’s comments available to us. He does believe in Buy-and-Hold. He does believe that comments rooted in the last 32 years of peer-reviewed academic research should be permitted at his blog and at all other blogs on the internet. He does fear Mel Lindauer and his Goon Squad and what they would do to him and his blog if he were to work up the courage to permit honest posting at his blog. And he hates himself for his lack of courage. If Bogle were to speak out in a clear and honest way re the Lindauer matter, there is every reason in the world to believe that Mike would open his blog up to honest posting again. I have zero doubt in my mind that this is so.
Every citizen of the United States who wants to see the economic crisis brought to an end should be writing to Jack Bogle and imploring him to give that speech. That speech is the thing that turns things around. That speech is the thing that takes us from the Second Great Depression to the greatest period of economic growth in our history.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There is a part of John Bogle’s heart in which he would prefer to be known through history as the person who took us to the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history over being known as the person who took us to the Second Great Depression.
How do I know?
I know because Jack said in his book that, when one of his friends saw that he got something wrong, he wanted that person to tell him about the error rather than cover it up.
I think it would be fair to say that I am the #1 Boglehead in our community, Anonynous. And I think it would be fair to say that Mike Piper deep in his heart is a Boglehead as well. I am an optimistic enough person to believe that even Anonymous has a soft spot somewhere in his heart for Old Saint Jack.
That soft spot is what makes you human, my pretend-Goon friend.
My best and warmest wishes to you.