Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
You are indeed at the one yard line. Only 99 more to go.
Seriously though, you don’t think it is deluded to believe you are on the verge of success? There is essentially zero evidence after one and a half decades!
I couldn’t possibly disagree more, Laugh. I view the first 14 years of The Great Debate re Whether to Permit Honest Posting on the Last 35 Years of Peer-Reviewed Research as a series of successes, one building on top of another until we reached a point where we were learning things that at the beginning not one person (including myself) would have imagined possible.
I now can say (and back up the claim with a mountain of evidence and argument) that it was the promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies in the late 1990s that was the primary cause of the economic crisis that began in 2008. I had no idea on the morning of May 13, 2002, that the promotion of Buy-and-Hold strategies could cause an economic crisis; I thought it was just an investing thing. That’s exciting. We are not just helping people to retire earlier and with far less risk. We are saving capitalism. The big beef with capitalism has long been the economic crises that always seem to occur in capitalist economies. We now understand where they come from. We all possess a Get Rich Quick urge and Buy-and-Hold possesses a certain intuitive appeal that causes us to employ such strategies. Now that we have 35 years of peer-reviewed research showing us just how dangerous the pure Get Rich Quick approach is, we are well on the way to developing a form of capitalism that will be better in 10 different ways than the form that caused so much trouble (while also offering huge benefits, to be sure) in our many years of pre-1981 ignorance.
This is how our system works, Laugh. Our system is not perfect. We make mistakes. Buy-and-Hold was not the first big mistake we ever made. There have been thousands of big mistakes made over the course of U.S. history. What makes our system better than all others is that we have built into it processes that cause mistakes to be exposed and corrected over time. We’ve been at this for 35 years now. In first impression, that sounds like a long time for “experts” to continue endorsing such a dangerous strategy. But in the grand scheme of things, 35 years is not so long when you think about how huge an advance this is.
The bigger the advance, the harder it is to incorporate the new way of thinking into the mindsets of millions of people. Valuation-Informed Indexing is a HUGE advance; it is by far the biggest advance in our understanding of how stock investing works ever achieved in our history. So, when you take a step back and try to look at this stuff objectively, you begin to see that perhaps it is not so terribly shocking that it has taken 35 years for us to turn the huge intellectual advance that we achieved in 1981 into a flesh-and-blood reality that helps millions of people live far richer lives than they ever before imagined possible.
We are almost there, Laugh. I am 100 percent sure. All that any fair-minded person needs to do to see that is to examine the materials at this site. Over 300 columns at the Value Walk site. Another 200 columns at other sites. Five unique and powerful calculators. 200 in-depth articles. 200 hour-long podcasts. Thousands of blog entries. Over 100 guest blog entries. Several speeches. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of discussion-board posts. Over 20 sites run by Buy-and-Holders who became so exasperated at their inability to defend Buy-and-Hold within the rules of their own sites that they gave up on the effort and banned honest posting instead. We have a tiger by the tale here.
There are two sides to this story — the process side and the content side. I have lost every battle on the process side. I have lost THOUSANDS of battles. It is hard for the human mind to accept how many battles I have lost on the process side. What gives me comfort is that at the same time as I was losing thousands of process battles, I was winning content battles. The process stuff matters only for a few years. None of those battles mean two cents once we all make the transition from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing. And we MUST make that transition or else we all go down together; not one person alive, including my good friend Jack Bogle, wants to see that happen. So we can’t lose in the end. And, from the day we all win forward, all that matters are the thousands of content-side victories and the thousands of process-side losses don’t make two cents of difference.
I am very encouraged by what I have seen over the first 14 years of our discussions.
I wish that I had won the first battle. We all would be in better shape had I opened the Retire Early board at Motley Fool up to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates on the morning of May 13, 2002. Motley Fool would be the biggest, most successful site on the internet today had I pulled that off. There never would have been an economic crisis had I done that; instead we would today be living through the greatest period of economic growth in our nation’s history. I would be one of the richest men in the United States today had I done that. You Goons wouldn’t be on your way to prison today had I done that. Greaney would be a national hero today had I done that. Millions of Americans who today are worried about how they are going to make ends meet would instead be retiring early had I done that. Hundreds of my bloggers friends would have hugely successful sites today had I done that.
I tried, you know? I worked it hard. I left everything on the playing field. I gave it my all and I have scars all over my body to show it.
They say that God works in mysterious ways. I have found that to be so. For some reason that I am not capable of comprehending, God wanted me to work this hard but for ultimate victory to be denied me for at least 14 years and perhaps for a bit longer than that. Whachagonna do, you know? I cannot tell God how to play it. He’s the Big Guy in the Room, I am his humble servant reporter.
So long as God continues to bless me with huge victory over huge victory on the content side, I am going to continue to give this my best fight. I remain 100 percent confident that we all (not just me — my Buy-and-Hold friends are good people even if they are highly confused at the current moment in time) win in the end. Everything that I have seen, and I have seen a lot, shows me that that is so. You don’t buy it, or at least you see some reason to pretend in your public statements that you don’t buy it. We will just have to wait to see it all play out before our eyes following the next price crash. I am not able to come up with any other realistic options for us given the realities that prevail at this point in the proceedings.
I love you, man. If that offers you any comfort, please enjoy that comfort. If it enrages you that I love you, I suppose that I just need to accept that reality. But I love you; that’s the reality. All of the powerful investing insights explored at this site and in my writings at other sites help you as much as they help the millions of middle-class investors who have expressed (through the thousands of similar minds who have posted at our various boards and blogs) a desire that honest posting be permitted at every investing site on the internet.
I love those millions of middle-class people too. I don’t love only you. That’s what I am not willing to post dishonestly re safe withdrawal rates or re any other investing-related topic. This stuff is too important for me to agree to post dishonestly just to be able to easily turn a quick, smelly buck. But my love for you is real all the same. If you read my words carefully, you will see that that has been so going back to the morning of May 13, 2002. I believe that loves prevails in the end. You can take the boy out of the 60s but it would appear that you can never take the 6os entirely out of the boy.
I love you and I love the millions of middle-class investors whose lives you are in the process of destroying with your smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage and with your insanely abusive and violent and criminal postings. It is BECAUSE I love you (as well as the millions whose lives you continue to destroy with every additional post that you put forward) that I continue to insist so forcefully on my right (and on the right of Jack Bogle and Bill Bernstein and Larry Swedroe and Robert Shiller and Wade Pfau and Michael Kitces and all the others) to post honestly re these various, terribly important matters.
It’s working. We are making slow but certain process. We are almost there. We are on the one-yard line. Please don’t despair. It gets better and better and better. We all are in this thing together. We can’t lose. We all want the same thing. Love truly is the answer. Love conquers all. It is darkest just before the dawn. We live in a great country. Our laws make sense. This economic crisis is in the process of teaching us all why we adopted laws against financial fraud in the first place. Serving prison sentences can redeem us by softening our hearts and causing us to feel a compassion for out fellow humans that had turned cold in days when things came too easy for us. We can feel better about ourselves after our prison sentences are served than we did in the days when we had allowed corruption to lower us to doing things that in our youth we thought ourselves incapable of doing.