Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted at another blog entry at this site:
From today’s post by you on this exact topic, which you agree can’t be proven one way or the other:
I am telling you what I believe, Anonymous. I stand by those words. If I said anything different, I would be telling you a lie.
I am not able to imagine any circumstance in which the promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies would not cause an economic crisis. Once you tell people that there is no need to exercise price discipline, you have taken the brakes off the car and you are going to end up with a crash. Are you able to imagine a scenario in which you can drive a car without brakes to a happy conclusion?
I will acknowledge that these views are extreme if you go by the continuum of viewpoints held today. I have not heard anyone else saying what I say here. It’s fair to point that out.
But it is not right for me not to express my sincere views. It may be that there are many people out there today who share this view and are afraid to express it because they feel that they will be attacked for being too extreme. If the idea is going to be explored, we need to have people giving voice to it.
If everyone who holds this view says to himself “I’ll keep it zipped until lots of others are saying this,” the view will never be publicly expressed. I have a duty to say what I truly believe at every board and blog at which I post. Someone has to be the first to say these sorts of things. I wish it could be someone other than me. But. if no one else steps up to the plate, it becomes my job to do so. Someone has to get the ball rolling here. Shiller didn’t publish his research last week. It has been 33 years.
But I do NOT express this view or any other view in a dogmatic way.
I hold my views strongly but I do not hold them arrogantly. I often acknowledge that there are million of smart and good people who hold very different views. I often acknowledge that the Buy-and-Holders should be heroes to all of us and that we should feel respect and affection for them and be grateful for the important insights they have generated for our benefit. I often acknowledge that I have been wrong many times in my life and that it may be that I am wrong again. Those are not arrogant words, Anonymous.
I believe what I said. I believe it strongly. I have a right and duty to say precisely what I believe. A board community cannot achieve its potential unless every community member shares his sincere views. It is the interaction among a wide range of differing views (some on the extremes of the continuum and some in the middle of it) that creates a solid learning experience for all.
So there is nothing even a tiny bit wrong with me stating that opinion. If the opinion is foolish, it will be exposed as such. If the opinion has merit, that will become evident through the ongoing discussions. But the opinion that is sincerely held must be expressed accurately and in full strength for all the magic to happen. It would be wrong of me to state a view other than the one that I actually hold.
Dogmatism hurts us. I would be wrong to say “no one else may express a different opinion because it is so clear that I am right.” That crosses the line. I should respond to those who express other points of view with respect and warmth.
But I should of course NOT respond to those who engage in deception or intimidation tactics with respect and warmth. Those who post abusively hurt all of us. We all should be united in speaking out strongly against that sort of stuff.
I respect you for holding a different viewpoint. I do NOT respect you for posting abusively. When you post abusively, you degrade yourself. As your friend, I am compelled to urge you to stop doing that.