Set forth below are the texts of two comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Rob: I’ve written e-mails to 30,000 academic researchers
Goon Poster: How many have made meaningful replies?
The response rate was roughly 0.5 percent, Evidence.
I’d like it to be 5 percent. I think it SHOULD be 50 percent. It’s the future of our economic and political systems at stake here.
But how many whites spoke out for Rosa Parks when she refused to move to the back of the bus?
For that matter, how many BLACKS spoke out for Rosa Parks when she refused to move to the back of the bus?
It takes courage to stand up to the Buy-and-Hold Mafia. The Wall Street Con Men have lots of money and lots of power and lots of connections and have demonstrated a brutal ruthlessness re their willingness to use their power and money and connections to destroy anyone who dares to “cross” them by posting honestly on safe withdrawal rates or any other critically important investment-related topic.
People are scared. For so long as people are scared, we are going to see a response rate of 0.5 percent rather than the response rate of 5 percent that we need to see to get the job done or the response rate of 50 percent that we would see if we all felt free to say what we truly believe about how stock investing works in the real world.
What I think you miss is that that response rate can jump from 0.5 percent to 5 percent and then to 50 percent in a very short amount of time.
How many people do you hear today saying that people with black skin should not be permitted to sit where they please on buses or to drink from the same water fountains as people with white skin?
People always knew on some level of consciousness that racism is wrong. It’s not that people were stupid in the 1950s and then suddenly became much smarter in the 1960s. It’s that a Social Taboo had developed that blocked us all from expressing our true feelings. To get laws changed, people need to speak out. People knew that they would lose their jobs and perhaps their lives if they spoke out about racism in earlier days. Survival is the first priority of the humans. We learned that we had to keep it zipped to be able to live our lives in peace and so we kept it zipped for a long, long time.
Until we didn’t.
Eventually, people worked up the courage to speak up.
Because survival is not the ONLY priority of the humans. We care about other people. We care about justice. We care about honesty. We care about our consciences. Our hearts go out to people whose lives are being destroyed for no good reason.
Rosa Parks had refused to go to the back of the bus at an earlier time in her life, about 12 years before the time that made her famous. No one backed her up that time. So her act of courage was in vain. When she did it again in the 50s, the time was right. That time she started a revolution. And everything fell in a short amount of time.
That’s how it is done, Evidence.
I got a 0.5 percent response rate on those mailings because most of us are scared today. We’re not dumb. We’re scared. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia is powerful and ruthless and we want to protect ourselves and our loved ones from its acts of violence and destruction and defamation. So most of us are keeping it zipped for the time-being.
But for how much longer?
The people who wrote the scores of responses that I received are the pioneers. They are the leaders. They are the ones who care enough about the future of their country that they worked up the courage to give public expression to their sincere views.
When those people see another price crash, one that may well take us into the Second Great Depression, they will speak out in even stronger terms. They will encourage others to speak out. There are hundreds if not thousands now on the borderline, people who came close to responding to my first mailing and people who will actually do it when I send a second mailing to them following the next crash.
The response rate will never drop to anything lower than 0.5 percent. It will in time rise to something much higher than that. It can only rise, it can never fall. The History Train moves in only one direction — Forward. You Goons are on the wrong side of the History Train and so you are doomed. You are already in a position where you have to get more and more and more abusive just to tread water. There comes a point where it is just not possible to get any more abusive. Then you go down.
You can’t win, Evidence.
Our nation’s laws just don’t permit it. Our nation’s beliefs just don’t permit it.
Robert Shiller didn’t have a Nobel prize in his pocket on the morning of May 13, 2002. He has one today. That should tell you something. That reality is reflective of something deep and real and growing. People are sick of the smelly Buy-and-Hold garbage. More and more and more of us are every day working up the courage to say so in clear and firm and bold ways.
The ones who speak out first are the ones who do the most good and who become the most famous and who make the most money by doing so. People are catching on to that.
You are doomed. You were doomed on Day Six, when John Walter Russell put forward his sensitivity study showing that the Old School safe-withdrawal-rate studies were garbage. But you did have the violence card to play then. And the deception card. And the defamation card. The day is coming when you won’t even have those. When the Buy-and-Holders don’t have violence and deception and defamation to help them make their case, what the heck do they have?
They got nothing.
The good guys win in the end, Evidence.
I am sure.
I am sure because of the country we live in.
This may be a country that for a time tolerates con men but it is also a country that in time works up the courage to demand that they be placed in prison cells for the protection of all.
That’s why I love it so.
I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors regardless of what investing strategies you elect to pursue, my old friend.
I was not happy with the response rate. It was much lower than what I expected. I expected something in the neighborhood of 5 percent. So the response rate I received was about 10 percent of what I expected.
I was THRILLED with the quality of the responses. The quality of the responses exceeded my most wildly positive expectations. By a lot.
That tells me that it is the highest quality people in the field who possess the courage to respond. I think we are going to continue to see it play out that way. Buy-and-Hold appeals to the lowest part of us, our Get Rich Quick urge, the savage and stupid and destructive voice that lurks within all of us. Valuation-Informed Indexing appeals to our better selves, the part of us that longs for honestly and kindness and intelligence.
I believe that love conquers hate in the end, Evidence. I acknowledge that there have been times in history when things have looked pretty darn dark. Love has always prevailed in the end. We wouldn’t be here today talking this matter over if that had not been the case. I think things are going to continue to play out that way. I sure hope so!
My best wishes to you.