Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for another blog entry at this site:
People will always do their homework and your record is out there. When you talk about prison, goons, windfalls, etc., they quickly see that you have a screw loose.
I’ll be posting at the Reddit forum on Financial Independence, Anonymous. I haven’t yet made a decision as to when. It could be next week, it could be next month, it could be next year. But I am going to go there and post and we will see what happens.
If I am permitted to post honestly, that will be a breakthrough. I doubt that I will win everyone over on the first day. But I will win some over. Some already agree with me. And some others don’t yet agree with me but believe that I have a right to post honestly and so are sympathetic to me. And most don’t really care enough to have an opinion one way or the other. And then there are the Goons who see it as a life-or-death matter to get me banned. When I post, the community as a whole will process the various information bits and work its will.
It could be that I will be banned. That has certainly happened at lots of other places. If you were taking bets re the matter, the smart money would be on me getting banned. Part of the reason why I have not decided whether to start posting there next week or next year is that the timing might make a difference. The odds of me getting banned are greater if I start posting next week. And it might be harder to overcome a ban one year from today than it would be to post for the first time one year from today. So strategically it might be a better idea to hold off for a bit.
Of course, the other side of the story is that it would be better in an overall sense to gain a foothold next week than it would be to gain a foothold one year from today. Gaining a foothold at the Reddit board will lead over time to good things happening at other boards and at blogs. So, if there are going to be good things happening at Reddit, it is better to have them happen sooner rather than later. So there are competing considerations re whether to act next week or to hold off for one year or whatever.
The bottom line is that good things are going to happen at Reddit and at lots of other places sooner or later. You Goons cannot win. My odds of winning sooner or later are 100 percent. I have 36 years of peer-reviewed research on my side. I have the laws of the United States on my side. That’s a long-term winning hand any way you look at it. The ultimate outcome has been known to all paying attention going back to the morning of May 13, 2002. It’s always just been a question of how precisely is the story going to unfold. (I acknowledge that you Goons have been successful with your financial fraud garbage for a lot longer than I thought it would be possible for you to be successful with it).
Are there people who think that I have a screw loose when I talk about prison sentences and Goons and windfalls? I think there are. Some just pretend to think that because they are afraid to take on you Goons and they would prefer to tell themselves that they don’t take you on because I have a screw loose than to admit to themselves that they don’t take you on because they fear what you would do to them if they acted with courage. In most cases, it is a mix of the two. Most people assume that I must have at least a little bit of a screw loose or else these things couldn’t possibly have happened to me while also acknowledging that you Goons do scary stuff and that they don’t want to take you on for that reason.
A good model for understanding what has been going on for 15 years is the Harvey Weinstein situation. The parallel is very strong. Everyone who works in Hollywood and who has ears and eyes has known for years now that there was some funny business going on with him. There are freakin’ memes about him on the internet! If there are freakin’ memes, people who work in the industry know the basics. They don’t know the details, it would not be fair to say that. But they know the basics.
So why didn’t all the stuff that is coming out now come out years ago? You Goons always like to ask me: “Is there some huge conspiracy, Rob?” Well, yes, there has been a conspiracy re the Weinstein matter and no, there has not been a conspiracy re the Weinstein matter. The New York Times had the story years ago and they didn’t run with it. There wasn’t anyone at the New York Times who met in a smoke-filled room with Weinstein and agreed to be a part of the conspiracy. But there were people at the Times who picked up on the general idea that this was a powerful and ruthless guy and that there was going to be a price to be paid if you took him on and he survived and thus was able to destroy you.
Certainly there were people at the Times and at lots of other places who acted in fear. But, no, there wasn’t a conspiracy in a comic-book sense. Messages were transmitted in hundreds of different ways that this was a dangerous business to touch and intelligent people got the message and kept their mouths shut. Those people included the women who were Weinstein’s victims. They had every reason in the world to speak up. But they were scared like everyone else. And when we humans are scared,we rationalize. We ask ourselves: “Why put my neck on the line when I am not going to be able to change this in any event and all that I am going to do by speaking up is to make my suffering worse?”
There’s logic in that rationalization. It’s not just crazy stuff or made-up stuff. But it is a short-term logic. So long as all the victims rationalize in that way, Weinstein gets away with his monster behavior. Weinstein’s early victims make things harder for Weinstein’s later victims. Weinstein can always ask when his later victims speak up: “Do you have a screw loose? If I was doing things like this to people, don’t you think that someone would have spoken up a long time ago? It’s impossible that anyone could get away with something like this in a free country. Why, the things that you are talking about are against the law! You’re a nutcase!”
And some people would believe him or at least pretend to believe him. Intimidation works. In the short term.
However, it doesn’t appear to me that it will work in the long term in Weinstein’s case. And it doesn’t appear to me that it will work in the long term in Mel Lindauer’s case or in John Greaney’s case or in Jack Bogle’s case either.
I don’t have a screw loose, Anonymous. The retirement study posted at John Greaney’s site lacks an adjustment for the valuation level that applies on the day the retirement begins. Thousands of people have looked at the study and not one has been able to find a valuation adjustment. I have over the course of the 15 years come to develop a funny feeling that that might be because there really is no valuation adjustment in the study. I have been banned at over 20 sites because I have told the truth about this matter and because Greaney and lots of others, including Bogle, don’t want people to know the truth about this matter. Intimidation works.
In the short term. The leaders of the Reddit forum might decide that they want their site to be the site that brings the intimidation to an end. Or they might ban me. I don’t claim to know which way it will go. The smart money says they will ban me. But the smart money ALSO says that sooner or later there will be a site that will NOT ban me. What happens then?
What happens then is what we have seen happen in recent weeks re the Weinstein matter. Intimidation tactics keep the truth from spreading. But important truths get out sooner or later regardless. When important truths have been held back from spreading for many years, they come out in a flood when the intimidation tactics finally fail.
If the truth had come out re Weinstein on the first time that he engaged in inappropriate behavior, he wouldn’t be going to jail today. He would have suffered some embarrassment. He would have had some sort of penalty imposed on him. But it would not have been nearly as bad for him as it is going to be for him now. The people who held back from telling the truth about Weinstein because of their fear of his intimidation tactics HURT him by failing to speak up. They did what he wanted them to do. But what Weinstein wanted was self-destructive. Now he is in worse shape than he would have been in had someone spilled the beans the first time he committed an infraction.
That’s how it is with Mel Lindauer. That’s how it is with John Greaney. That’s how it is with Jack Bogle. That’s how it is with the owners of all the sites that have permitted these three to post and who have banned or otherwise intimidated those trying to get the truth out. The leaders of the Reddit board may or may not do the right thing. If they do the right thing, they will go down in history as heroes. If they do the wrong thing, they will put themselves at risk of being exposed themselves somewhere down the line. So there is a risk for them in giving in to the intimidation tactics. It might seem like the smart way to go from a short-term perspective. But it is a very dumb thing to do from a long-term perspective.
I love my country. That is one of my catch phrases, right? I say it all the time. One of the things that I love about my country is the way we over time work out situations like the Weinstein situation. When I say that I love my country, I don’t mean to say that we are perfect; if we were perfect, we would have no Weinstein situations. What I mean is that we have a system in place and values carried deep in our hearts that help us to work out these sorts of situations in a positive way in the long term.
I think that in the long term we are going to open every discussion board and blog on the internet to honest posting on safe withdrawal rates and scores of other critically important investment-related topics. It might seem like I have a screw loose in the eyes of some in the short term because I am fighting a great power and great powers have a way of crushing little guys like me like a bug when they dare to speak up about great crimes committed by those great powers. But I honestly believe that I and the American people as a whole are going to win this one. I believe that the corrupt great powers are going to be exposed and brought down. I believe that we are all going to be freed to begin talking about how stock investing works in realistic and honest and research-supported ways in days to come.
We’ll see, you know? Another catch phrase that I have adopted in recent days is to say that “it will be interesting to see how things play out.” It will be. Maybe it will be the Reddit board community that turns it around. Maybe not. But if it’s not the Reddit board, it will be some other board. Things are going to get turned around sooner or later. If the last 36 years of peer-reviewed research in this field is legitimate research (I believe that it is), our economic system cannot survive too much longer if we don’t get it turned around. I cannot bear to entertain the possibility of our economic system going down and I know that millions of us love this country (I have seen strong evidence of this even at the many boards at which I have been banned). So I believe with my heart, mind and soul that we will turn things around sooner or later.
I will behave in a 100 percent charitable way to my Goon friends when that happens. But as you know from the words above, I don’t think that the people who kept the Weinstein matter hushed up all these years were being even a tiny bit charitable to him by doing so. I think they were hurting him. I think they are partly to blame for what has happened to this man, who in the final analysis is a flawed creature of a loving God just like all the rest of us. I aim to act charitably toward you Goons in a full sense, in a sense in which honesty evidences itself as well as kindness.
That’s my sincere take, in any event.