Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Back and forth means it goes both ways. He is talking about you there, Rob.
You Goons generate ugliness and I object to the ugliness you generate. Those two are not the same thing. To suggest that they are the same thing is to suggest that a policeman is doing unjustified harm to a killer when he places him in handcuffs. It is the policeman’s JOB to protect us from killers.
Joe obviously gets all that. Nothing could be more clear.
The one point I can give you here is that Joe should be speaking out more clearly about which side is causing the problem. You are right to that extent.
That’s of course not true only of Joe. It is true of just about everyone. It is true of Jack Bogle. It is true of Robert Shiller. It was true of Wade Pfau during the 16 months we worked together (and is more true of him today). Heck, it was true of Rob Bennett up until the morning of May 13, 2002.
How do you propose that we solve this problem, Anonymous?
Rob Arnott told me that I need to be less “strident.” He has been addressing this problem in his less strident way for years now. Has the problem been solved? Have the Old School SWR studies been corrected? Have we launched a national debate on Valuation-Informed Indexing? Have we overcome this economic crisis?
What gets the job done? That’s the question here.
PeteyPerson described me as a “teddy bear”-type poster in the days before May 13, 2002. That’s my natural personality. But it didn’t get the job done to be a teddy-bear type poster re the safe-withdrawal-rate issue, did it? So I moved on to something else. No one refers to me as a teddy-bear type poster today.
It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken, Anonymous. That’s the bottom line, whether I like playing the role or not.
We need to fix our broken economy. There are no two sides re that one. We ALL need that. Jack Bogle needs it as much as Rob Bennett. Bill Bernstein needs it as much as Robert Shiller. Larry Swedroe needs it as much as Wade Pfau.
When we are all working together to learn how stock investing really works and to share what we learn with million of middle-class investors, I will be a teddy-bear-type poster once again. Until that happens, I will be Frank Perdue.
Because I have it in for my Buy-and-Hold friends? No. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
My Buy-and-Hold friends are killing themselves. They are killing all the rest of us while they do it, that much is certainly so. But one of most important realities here is that my Buy-and-Hold friends are killing themselves. If they understood what the research says, they would be behaving in a very different way. And the only way they can ever come to understand what the research says is for there to be a free and open discussion, with thousands of people participating.
My job is to get that discussion started. It could have been done on May 13, 2002, without anyone getting hurt in any serious way. Today, getting that discussion started means huge financial liabilities and in some cases even prison sentences for my Buy-and-Hold friends. Following the next price crash, the penalty to be paid will be 20 times higher.
Joe understands this. He is scared, like lots and lots and lots of other good and smart people. He has not been perfect in his behavior. He loves his country and a person who loves his country should be speaking out more firmly and more clearly and more powerfully than Joe has spoken out. All that is fair enough.
But Joe has put his neck on the line to an extent that few others have put their necks on the line. So I feel that I can cut him some slack re his imperfections. And I have a funny feeling that the millions of middle-class people whose lives are in the process of being destroyed will be cutting Joe some slack following the next price crash.
Will those millions of people be in a mood following the next price crash to cut Anonymous any slack? I have my doubts. Very, very grave doubts.
And so it goes, Anonymous. I wish you all good things.