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 would feel bad about yourself if you had to work a job? Can you please explain that?
If I worked a job outside of my work developing and promoting the Valuation-Informed Indexing concept because I needed the money, I would not feel bad. That’s just life; you play the cards you are dealt. So long as that was the reason, I would feel perfectly good about it. I would do the VII work on the weekends and feel fine about myself.
But if I did the outside work because I gave in to intimidation tactics employed by those who don’t want others to learn about the implications of Shiller’s “revolutuionary” (his word) research, then, yes, I would feel bad about myself. I would feel that I had let my country down and that I had let my profession down and that I had let my fellow community members down and that I had let myself down because I had agreed to be less than the best person that I was capable of being solely because I was too cowardly to take on you Goons.
That’s what was going on in the days before May 13, 2002. I suspected that Greaney had gotten the numbers wrong in his infamous retirement study. I was 90 percent sure. I knew that I should be asking my fellow community members what they thought about it. But I was a coward. I knew that Greaney was an abusive poster and I didn’t want him to send his Goons after me. So I kept it zipped. I of course knew deep inside that I was a coward and I of course did not feel as good about myself as I would have felt had I had the courage to do the obviously right thing.
That’s where lots of us stand today. The owners of Morningstar know that they should have banned those who posted in “defense” of Mel Lindaurer. They didn’t have the courage to do so and they don’t feel 100 percent good about themselves as a result. Bogle knows that he should not be endorsing the book of one of the two most abusive posters in the history of the internet. But he doesn’t want to face Lindauer’s wrath. So he makes excuses for his failure to disassociate himself from Lindauer. And he dies a little inside. Rob Arnott knows that it is b.s. to tell me that the material at my site is top-notch stuff but then to add in fear that he thinks that I am being “strident” to ask that the Buy-and-Holders permit honest posting at every investing site on the internet. Arnott does not just sell me out when he does that, he sells himself out too.
We all have a Get Rich Quick urge and we all understand on some level of consciousness that it cannot possibly be so that the stock market is the only market that exists in which it is not necessary to practice price discipline when buying the thing offered for sale in that market. We suspect that we are hurting ourselves by buying into these preposterous marketing slogans. But we want to! So we rationalize our poor behavior. And we feel a little less than we would feel if we acted in a manner that satisfied our usual standards.
We are all little Goons, Anonymous. Very much including yours truly. We all sell ourselves short. That’s why we see bull markets develop every 30 years or so. That’s why we see economic crises every 30 years or so. That’s why Buy-and-Hold still exists 35 years after the peer-reviewed research was published showing us that no such “strategy” has ever worked for a single human in any market on Planet Earth. You Goons are just the quintessence of a human weakness that has been destroying our hopes for financial freedom for a long, long time. You get away with your Buy-and-Hold Lies because the rest of us enjoy hearing them; your fantasy world makes us poor in the long run but brightens up our days in the short run just like another drink brightens up the life of an alcoholic for a bit.
I pray that I will never again sell myself and all of my fellow community members and friends out in the way that I did in the days prior to the morning of May 13, 2002. If I stop doing this work full time for some reason other than being afraid of you Goons, it’s not on me and I have nothing to feel bad about. But if I pull back from doing good work because I want the attacks to stop, I am a poor excuse for a journalist and in fact a poor excuse for a human being. I hope and I believe that I will never go there again.
Does that help?