Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
So you believe that you have never made a mistake.
And you also believe you are sane?
Here is something to think about. If you have never made a mistake why are you in the situation you are in? Blame everyone else, you aren’t responsible because you are perfect? Still think that sounds sane?
The words you write here make it sound like I am in some sort of bad situation. Huh?
I am in a situation more wonderful than anything I could possibly have imagined when I was a young man.
I have a $500 million settlement payment coming my way. I am the lead author on the most important piece of peer-reviewed research published in this field in the past three decades. My web site will soon be the #1 personal finance web site on the internet. My boys have a business available to them to work at if they choose to avoid the corporate world. I will be a highly sought-after author for the remaining years of my life. I will be giving kick-off speeches at the Financial Bloggers Conference and other such places for many years to come.
Should I be crying big tears into my pillow every night?
I of course understand that you are trying to place the focus on the negative stuff.
I’ve got one big problem — the abusiveness of you Goons. You don’t want me to be rich and famous. You hate the idea. I have been proven right about a very important matter and you have been proven wrong and you cannot stand the idea of the world learning about that. I don’t want to be intimidated. I can’t do my best work if I am being intimidated. I don’t want anyone else to be intimidated. People who are intimidated cannot produce the kind of work that I can learn from. So I will not stand for intimidation tactics. There’s no give re that one.
You have 13 years of history to look at. Your reliance on intimidation tactics has brought you lower and lower and lower. Now you are on your way to prison. It’s 100 percent insane. But here we are.
There’s nothing you can do to me to cause me to flip. If you get me the death penalty, that won’t cause me to flip. My guess is that you tell yourself that I am saying that for dramatic effect. I’m not. I am telling it straight. You’ll just have to learn that on your own time. I won’t flip. I will always act with love in my heart. I will do everything I can to make things go as easy for you as possible. But that won’t include letting intimidation tactics influence me. It would be an act of cruelty if I were to suggest that there is even the smallest sliver of a possibility that that could ever happen.
We all have beliefs about the meaning of life. I am a Catholic. I am not a pious person and I am no theologian. But I have some vague impressions about why life works the way it does. Maybe I am wrong about them. Wrong or right, I believe them. So these vague impressions determine how I respond to events that play out before me.
I obviously don’t like any of the Goon stuff. But I believe on a deep level that God let it play out the way he did for a purpose. I don’t know precisely what that purpose is. It could be that God feels that the world needs the drama of this story to be witnessed by people for them to finally give up their belief in Buy-and-Hold. It could be that God wants me to get that $500 million payment and He understood that there was no other way to get that sum in my pocket without having this massive cover-up play out before us all. It could be that God loves you Goons so much that he wants you to change your behavior before your days are done and he wants me to be an instrument to lead you to a better place. I could be that He wants the internet discussion board to achieve its potential as the communications medium of the future and that He feels that getting this story out before people will lead to the adoption of legislation that will make that happen.
I don’t know which of those it is. And of course it could be that my brain is not capable of seeing what it really is. I just have to accept that there is a good purpose being served by all this. I believe that. I believe that God works in mysterious ways. I believe that huge advances are sometimes achieved through actions that in the short term seem to be producing only bad stuff. I believe that God loves me and the millions of middle-class investors and Jack Bogle and you Goons and that we all just need to be sure to play our assigned roles to the best of our abilities. I know with 100 percent certainty that my role is to be the one who refuses to give in to intimidation tactics and to encourage others to stand with resolve in OPPOSITION to the use of intimidation tactics.
I don’t like the Goon stuff one little bit. But I am humbled to have been asked to play the role that I have been asked to play. I am going to give it my best shot. I will always act in love. But there are lines that I will never cross. I will never cross The Felony Line. I will never say that the retirement study posted at John Greaney’s site contains an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins. Thousands of people have looked at it. No one has ever found a valuations adjustment. That’s because none exists. I am sure.
I wish all of you Goons the best that life has to offer a person.