Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
So it is really about Mel and John.
Yes and no.
Everyone benefits if we move forward. Everyone. We all want the same thing.
That’s the good news. And the good news is very good indeed.
The bad news is that we didn’t always know everything. So lots of people were given bad information. And those who have come to understand this are afraid to speak up because people are going to be angry when they learn what has happened.
Once we educate people, nothing that you Goons do will make any difference. People handle internet Goons all the time.
But until people are educated re the last 34 years of peer-reviewed research, you Goons have enough power to keep us all from moving forward.
If it were not for you Goons, we wouldn’t be experiencing an economic crisis. You Goons have destroyed millions of people’s lives.
But, no, it isn’t all about you Goons. If Motley Fool had honored its word to deal with you, you could never have done what you have done. And of course it is the same with Bogle. Had he behaved responsibly, you Goons would have been taken out of the story a long time ago.
So, no, I would not say that it is entirely about Mel and John. The Wall Street Con Men played a big role. They failed to honor their responsibilities. And the journalists in this field played a big role. They should have asked Bogle a lot of hard questions that they have failed to ask him for 34 years now. And even Shiller has played a role in permitting this cover-up to go on so long. He should have included a chapter in his book pointing out how dangerous Buy-and-Hold is. That would have made a difference.
I played a role. I was afraid to speak up from May 1999 until May 2002. That was cowardly. I’m like everyone else. I don’t like to tell people things they don’t want to hear because they won’t like me if I do.
Everyone played a part.
But we wouldn’t be where we are today but for Mel and John. We had enough people who wanted to move forward that, but for Mel’s and John’s criminal acts, we would have all moved forward a long time ago.
Mel and John did lots of bad stuff and they need to be held accountable for us to put the ugly side of this to rest. But I don’t think it is fair to say that it was only Mel and John who messed up. This was a society-wide mess-up. Mel and John did worse than just about anyone else. But their behavior was not entirely inconsistent with behavior we have seen from lots of others in higher positions of responsibility.
That’s my sincere take, in any event.
I hope that helps a bit.