Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for one of my columns at the Value Walk site:
If we look at your column that you posted on your blog today, we once again see how disgusting you are when you strike a comparison between Jack Bogle to that of Bill Cosby and disgraced priests.
Yet another example of poor behavior that has led to you being banned at boards.
I strongly disagree, Sammy. Our differences re this matter are the key to understanding what is going on in the investing realm today.
Bill Cosby was a great comedian and in most respects a great man. He was an inspiration to millions. He had one grave flaw. Almost all of us have flaws. The right thing for us to do when we see that someone has a flaw is to help him overcome it. That didn’t happen with Cosby. He had lots of power and money and connections. So lots of people who knew that there were seriously wrong things going on kept their mouths shut. As a result, the problem got worse and worse until things reached a point at which Cosby’s reputation is all but destroyed.
That never should have happened. It’s a terrible shame that things played out that way. Cosby is responsible because we all are responsible for our own behavior. But everyone who knew and kept his or her mouth shut contributed to the problem in a less direct and less significant way. As a society we failed Cosby and all the women he hurt.
That’s how things have played out re Jack Bogle. Bogle is a great man, he is a genius and he has helped us all in many amazing ways. In a perfect world, I could stop there, that would be the end of the story. We don’t live in a perfect world.
Bogle should have come forward when Shiller published his “revolutionary” (Shiller’s word) research in 1981. Even if Bogle was not convinced that the research pointed to something real (it is my strongly held belief that Bogle was and still is suffering from cognitive dissonance), he should have come forward and noted that there was now serious research showing that Buy-and-Hold can never work for a single long-term investor and that all investors who follow Buy-and-Hold strategies need to know about that research and take it into consideration when forming their own assessments re how to plan their retirements.
Had Bogle done that in 1981, there would have been thousands and thousands of good and smart people participating for the past 35 years in a national debate about how stock investing works. As a society we would have generated hundreds of powerful insights. We would all be living better lives today. I of course believe that Valuation-Informed Indexing would be the dominant investing strategy today had things played out that way. But that doesn’t really matter so much. The important thing is that everyone in this field would have felt free for that entire 35 years to post his sincere views re this terribly important subject. Knowledge would have continued to advance. Everything would be on the level and we would all feel better about ourselves.
We cannot go back to 1981 and change things. The past is past. We can change the future. Everyone who works in this field needs to pull together to insist that Bogle come clean re these matters. There is not one school of thought re how stock investing works. There are two. Buy-and-Hold was once a legitimate strategy and there are millions of good and smart people who believe to this day that it is a legitimate strategy. But there is 35 years of peer-reviewed research showing otherwise. People need to know that. We all need to be exploring how stock investing works in the event that Shiller’s Nobel-prize-winning research is legitimate, even those of us who continue to believe in the merits of Buy-and-Hold.
That’s my sincere take, Sammy. I love Jack Bogle. There would be no Valuation-Informed Indexing if not for Bogle’s many amazing contributions. I rank Bogle as the second most important investing analyst of all time, second only to Robert Shiller. But the full reality is that Bogle messed up big time when he failed to come forward and at least acknowledge doubt back in 1981 when Shiller published his “revolutionary” findings. The longer the cover-up continues, the more pain we cause to all our fellow humans, including the Buy-and-Holders and very much including my good friend Jack Bogle.
These are my sincere thoughts re these terribly important matters. I think of Jack Bogle as a friend. That’s one of many reasons why I INSIST that he come clean by the close of business today.
I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors, my good friend.