Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
“It is important because friendship is the prerequisite to learning.”
No. It’s not.
People learn all the time from sources that are not their ‘friends’, or even friendly! Your entire premise is ridiculous.
I don’t think it is ridiculous, Anonymous.
I am a conservative. At earlier times in my life, I was very much a liberal. I still have sympathies for a good number of liberal ideas.
Bill Maher often says things that rub my fur the wrong way. I don’t follow him. But there have been several times when I have heard him quoted saying things that make me feel that he is not worth following. That’s the REASON why I don’t follow him.
Yesterday he made some strong statements against these people who killed the satirists in Paris. The pitch he made is that “my position is the true liberal position.” I don’t agree 100 percent with everything Maher said. But I agree 90 percent. I certainly felt that he was speaking for me when he said what he said.
Am I “friends” with Maher? Not really. I don’t follow the guy. I would give a thumbs down to Maher in a general sense rather than a thumbs up.
But I felt drawn to him when he was saying the words he said yesterday. I don’t think it would be unfair to say that I felt “friendly” (in a small and limited way) toward him while I watched the video clip of him saying his words.
Marketers are in the business of persuading people. They study what is required. Any marketer will tell you that people don’t buy from people that they don’t like. The first step in making a sale is getting the customer to like you. The won’t sign on the dotted line until they study all the specifications and determine that the deal makes sense for them. It’s not all about being friends. The intellect kicks in at some point before most efforts at persuasion are complete. But it is emotion that leads the way. People won’t even look at the specifications until they decide they like you.
As a general rule, people only buy from people they like. People want to feel safe before they buy. They don’t feel safe around people they don’t like. This is true not just in sales of products and services. It is true in politics. There were Democrats who voted for Reagan. They liked him. There were Republicans who voted for Clinton. They liked him. Convincing someone that you care about them is the first and most important step in any effort at persuasion.
Shiller published his revolutionary research 33 years ago. The Buy-and-Holders have failed to incorporate that research into their strategy for over three decades. Why?
It’s not that the Buy-and-Holders are not intellectually capable of understanding the implications of Shiller’s research. I have never met a dumb Buy-and-Holder. They are 100 percent capable. The problem is that they do not hear people they like making the case for the Shiller model (Valuation-Informed Indexing).
Todd Tresidder is the smartest blogger in the personal finance field that I have met. Todd agrees with me about the importance of valuations. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia has not targeted Todd for career destruction as it has me. Why?
Todd keeps to his own kind. He offers powerful insights re how to invest effectively that are rooted in the peer-reviewed research of the past 33 years. But Todd does not present those insights at the Bogleheads Forum or at any other discussion board or blog dominated by Buy-and-Holders. People like him and so he is successful. But he poses only a small threat to those promoting Buy-and-Hold strategies because he doesn’t post at boards and blogs that they control and so the Buy-and-Holders are not concerned that Todd is going to become well-liked and thus effective at “their” boards and blogs.
I don’t limit myself in the way that Todd does. I want every investor on Planet Earth to learn about Valuation-Informed Indexing. I am 100 percent happy to post at boards and blogs dominated by Buy-and-Holders. So I pose a MAJOR threat to those promoting Buy-and-Hold strategies.
I don’t just post about the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research. I am likable. I know this is so because THOUSANDS of my fellow community members have told me so. Those trying to promote Buy-and-Hold strategies obviously see me as a threat. They know that, if they abide by the published rules of the sites at which I post, I will become more and more well-liked over time and the community members of those sites will listen to my message in a fair-minded way and a lot of them will be won over by it.
You Goons have been attacking me for 12 years now. Never has there been a single attack rooted in peer-reviewed research. Every attack that you have put forward has been aimed at getting people not to like me. You say that I stalk women. You say that I use drugs. You say that I am stupid. You say that I manage my money poorly. You say that my wife has left me. You say that my parents were alcoholics. You say that I am a bad father. You say that I am a liar. You say that I am jealous of Lindauer and Greeney and Bogle. And on and on and on.
If you didn’t see the importance of people liking someone who is trying to convince them of something, you wouldn’t focus all of your efforts on personal destruction. You would address issues. You know that people will only listen to someone whom they like. So you focus all of your efforts on destroying me as a person rather than addressing the very important substantive issues that have been put on the table.
Buy-and-Hold failed 33 years ago. The only thing keeping it alive today is these personal attacks. Many people still like the Buy-and-Hold advocates because they have not yet suffered all the losses that the peer-reviewed research in this field shows that they will suffer as a result of their decision to follow this “strategy.” I win every debate on the merits. But you Goons win on the likability matter because there are more of you and because you all act in a united way and because you employ tactics that those of us who follow research-based strategies are not willing to employ.
A nation of investors needs to learn who its true friends are. That’s what this all comes down to. I believe that people will begin to see following the next price crash that the Buy-and-Holders are true experts in only one area — Marketing. Get Rich Quick/Buy-and-Hold sells. But Get Rich Quick/Buy-and-Hold never works in the long run. Research-based strategies work in the long run. Once large numbers of people start to question their friendship with the Wall Street Con Men (a friendship that has been built and maintained with a mountain of deceptions and intimidations), we will be able to have a national debate on the MERITS. We will be able to talk about the last 33 years of peer-reviewed research says and that will change everything.
Humans need to feel some feelings of friendship with those with whom they are engaged in conversations to have any hope of learning from those people. I feel friendship toward you Goons. So I learn from you all the time. But you feel a burning hate toward me. So my words just bounce off you. Things will change in a positive direction when the next price crash breaks your excessive pridefulness and we are all able to begin LEARNING from the other fellow.
That’s what our boards should be about. That’s why we have rules at every board and blog prohibiting your Goons tactics. That’s why we have laws making financial fraud a felony with a penalty of prison time for those who will not accept the constraints that these laws impose on their behavior.
My sincere take.