See also the discussion on Bogleheads (also some discussion of the permanent portfolio on the thread)
The article was anti-gold biased. Here is a typical quote from the Swedroe article:
On Jan. 21, 1980, the price of gold reached a then-record high of $850. On March 19, 2002, gold was trading at $293, well below where it was 20 years earlier. Note that the inflation rate for the period 1980 through 2001 was 3.9%. Thus, gold’s loss in real purchasing power was about 85%. How can gold be an inflation hedge when, over the course of 22 years, it loses 85% in real terms?
Of course, this is major cherry-picking of intervals. I could just as easily write:
In 1971 gold cost $35 per ounce and 9 short years later it cost $850 per ounce. That is a gain of 2430% for a compounded annual return of 35%.
The article is worthless but the comments on the Boglheads thread are more balanced. In particular, poster willthrill81's point that the historical low volatility of the permanent portfolio is useful for people in the withdrawal phase like me.