Set forth below is the text of a comment that I posted recently to another blog entry at this site:
Most people do not obsess over things that horrify them. Especially things that have not happened and almost certainly never will happen. Goodness, what a tragic way to go through life.
That’s assuming of course that you aren’t simply saying “horrifying” when you mean “extremely appealing”. Either way it’s tragic, just for different reasons.
I find it horrifying, X.
I had lots of good times with John Greaney. He put up a notice for newcomers to the Retire Early board saying that the first thing they should do is to read all of my posts because they were the best stuff he had ever seen on the subject of early retirement. That was an exceedingly kind thing to do. That meant a lot to me. There was a poster who attacked me when I published my Secrets of Retiring Early report. John came to my defense. On the day that I discovered John’s site, I copied every article on it and put the copies in a binder so that I could refer to those articles again and again and learn from them. When my wife picked me up at work that day, I spent the entire ride back going on and on about this exciting site that I had discovered. When I first began work on my Passion Saving book, I wrote an e-mail to John asking him to co-author it with me (he sent an e-mail back saying that it wouldn’t work out because every person who knew him well considered him a cosmic “asshole” — that’s John’s word).
Are you saying that I shouldn’t care about how this individual has destroyed his life? I never even imagined that such a thing were possible back at the time when I first began posting on the internet. It’s horrifying. The word fits.
And of course we are not just talking about John. It is horrifying what has happened to Jack Bogle, who is a hero of mine. It is horrifying what has happened to Bill Bernstein and Scott Burns and Larry Swedroe and Wade Pfau. It is horrifying what has happened to J.D. Roth and Carl Richards and Mike Piper and on and on and on. It’s horrifying what has happened to you. Absolutely 100 percent horrifying.
And it is of course absolutely 100 percent horrifying what has happened to the millions of middle-class investors whose lives have been destroyed because we have spent 12 years of our life energies debating whether honest posting should be permitted rather than making use of honest posting to learn things that would make our lives richer in about 100 different ways.
The most horrifying aspect of all of this is the opportunities we have pissed away. We are the luckiest generation of investors ever to walk Planet Earth. We are the first generation of investors who knows what it takes to reduce the risks of stock investing by 70 percent while increasing returns DRAMATICALLY. And we instead tolerate 12 years of insanely abusive behavior that puts us in the Second Great Depression while causing the people engaging in the abusive behavior to spend the last few decades of their lives in prison cells. If that ain’t absolutely 100 percent horrifying, what the heck would you say fits the bill?
You know how horrifying this is? It’s up there with the mounds of dead bodies you see in the Ken Burns’ documentary on the Civil War. We are talking about so vast an amount of human suffering BROUGHT ON FOR NO SANE REASON WHATSOEVER that the human mind can barely contemplate that such a thing might ever happen much less that it has in fact been playing out before all of our eyes for 12 years now WHILE MOST OF US KEPT IT ZIPPED AND THEREBY INSURED THAT THE HUMAN SUFFERING WOULD GROW AND GROW AND GROW AND GROW.
Horrifying it is. Please spread the word all over the internet that is my sincere take re this one. I stand by the word “horrifying” 100 percent.
As for the idea that I find any of this ugliness even a tiny bit “appealing,” why the f have I spent 12 years of my life trying to bring an end to it if I find any of it even a tiny bit appealing? Who is the one who put forward a post on November 23, 2002 urging Greaney’s removal from our community? Were you one of the 25 community members who endorsed that post? If not, why the f not? Motley Fool wanted to see that the entire community supported his removal. You could have helped us all bring it to an end nearly 12 years ago. Did you do your part? Or did you lack what it takes even to push the freakin’ recommendation button (something Greaney would not even know about because recommendations are anonymous)?
Is your personal cowardice “horrifying” enough, X.? Ya think? Do you think you are going to feel good about yourself for the rest of your day because you couldn’t work up the courage to push a recommendation button when the fates conspired to make that the minimum responsibility you owed to your fellow community members, who had given so freely to you of their knowledge and experience and love?
I don’t “obsess” over it, X.
My job is to solve the problem. I do not have a magic wand that can take us back to the morning of May 13, 2002. If I did, I would wave that sucker in the air like crazy. Yes, I get it that you Goons would play it differently the second time if that opportunity presented itself. We don’t have that opportunity. It’s fantasy thinking to contemplate it. We live in a world where time moves only forwards and never backwards. Responsible people accept reality and cope with it. To accept reality and cope with it is not to “obsess.”
The most compelling thing that I could possibly do on the substance side is to co-author research that shows millions of middle-class people how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent and to have that research published in a peer-reviewd journal. I have already done that. Years ago. And, yes, surely enough, the response of a good number of long-confirmed Buy-and-Holders was to tell me that this research was causing them to open their minds to new ideas, this research was what they needed to give Valuation-Informed Indexing a fair hearing for the first times in their lives.
The response of you Goons was to threaten to destroy the career of my co-author in the event that he continued publishing honest research or continued posting honestly on the internet about the honest research already published under his name. So I think it is fair to say that further explanations of the substantive realities is not going to swing this thing. You go to prison if millions of middle-class investors learn the realities and that’s all you care about at this point. For you, it’s in for a dime with felonies, in for a dollar with felonies. You will commit any felony you have to commit to ensure that millions of your fellow citizens never learn what they need to learn if we are to as a society bring this economic crisis to an end.
I have a PATRIOTIC DUTY to overcome The Buy-and-Hold Mafia. All of us who are aware of what has been done to us as a nation of people over the past 12 years have that patriotic duty.
How do we get people who know they are going to prison if the truth comes out to understand that they must permit the truth to come out all the same?
We extend the hand of kindness to them. We let them know that we will do anything in our power to help them get those prisons sentences shortened to whatever extent it is possible to get them shortened given the circumstances that apply today.
What other options are open to me, X? If you have a better idea, let’s hear it. If not, please stuff your foul-smelling “obsess” garbage where it belongs, in that big, fat bottom of yours where you keep all your “defenses” of the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies.
Not this boy. Find someone else. It’s not my particular cup of tea. I can’t go for that. No can do.
I post honestly or I post not. Non-negotiable.
That policy works just fine in every field of human endeavor other than stock investing. There is going to come a day in the not-too-distant future when it is going to work just fine in the field of stock investing as well. I intend to see to it, long Goon prison sentences or no long Goon prison sentences.
I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors in any event.
Rob, the Determined and Loving and Honest and Optimistic One