Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently put to another blog entry at this site:
I also want to just make sure I am clear on the totality of your message. As I understand it, you believe that the entire financial well-being of our country (and possibly the world) has been put in jeopardy because a dozen or so financial boards have decided to ban you from posting and that all of this can be saved if the ban is removed and you can post whatever you want at any time.
Did I get that right?
It is not just me who cannot post honestly. Bogle cannot post honestly today. Bernstein cannot post honestly today. Shiller cannot post honestly today. Pfau cannot post honestly today.
We need ALL of these people posting honestly at every investing board and blog.
When Rob Bennett is permitted to post honestly, then obviously all of these other people are going to be permitted to post honestly. So that solves the problem.
But I of course have no problem with you doing it some other way. You could permit Bogle to post honestly and then all the rest of us will join in. You could permit Pfau to post honestly and then all the rest of us can join in. I’m fine if it is me who goes first and I am fine if someone else goes first.
There are four fears that are keeping people from posting honestly.
One, people are afraid that the Wall Street Con Men will use their considerable power and money and connections to crush them with lawsuits.
Two, people are afraid that you Goons will destroy their web sites and their reputations.
Three, people are afraid that their readers and clients will become angry with them if they point out that they have been taken.
Four, people are afraid of how their own opinions of themselves will change if they acknowledge to themselves that they have caused millions of their friends and neighbors and co-workers and fellow community members to suffer failed retirements.
We are stuck in a Catch-22. People don’t tell the truth because they will be hated if they do. So we need to do something about the hate. But the reason why people feel so much hate when they hear what the research says is that they do not fully understand how stock investing works.And people cannot learn until we have a national discussion of the implications of the last 33 years of peer-reviewed academic research. Which cannot take place until people work up the courage to tell the truth!
Do you see any way out of this Catch-22 other than having Bogle stand at the front of a room and say the words “I” and “Was” and “Wrong”? (or at the very bare minimum “I’m” and “Not” and “Sure.”)?
When Bogle gives that speech, it will be written up on the front page of the New York Times. No one is going to be afraid that the Wall Street Con Men are going to sue them once Bogle gives that speech. You Goons are going to drop the funny business once Bogle gives that speech. Lots of readers and clients are still going to be skeptical of Valuation-Informed Indexing after Bogle gives the speech but that is a healthy thing; we can still enjoy a learning experience even if lots of people remain skeptical — in fact, it is arguably a good thing that lots of people are skeptical, it makes for a better debate. And people will still experience feelings of self-disgust after Bogle gives the speech — but the discussion that follows will begin a healing process that will in time solve this problem. No one intended to get it wrong, and we will be entering the greatest period of economic growth in our history. Experiencing huge financial gains tends to make people feel better about this sort of thing.
If you have a better idea, I’d like to hear it, Anonymous.
We ALL should be permitted to post honestly, Rob Bennett and everyone else. That’s how our system works. There’s a good reason why the smart people who came before us chose that system. We made a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake when we stopped following the dictates of that system in this one area of investing analysis. We need to return to operating under the rules that made our country great. We need to allow each and every one of us to have his or her say. That’s how we all enjoy a great learning experience together.
Don’t let the bad guys get you down, man.