I checked around bulletin boards to see what people were saying. Unsurprisingly, they weren't saying much. Here's Mark Andrews, at Stock Gumshoe, who may or may not have stopped by to take my Porter Poll, but didn't seem impressed with the man:
"Porter is a crook and in my eyes always will be... He used politics just to get people’s attention — I would never buy anything he is selling (but it might make a good short)!"
Meanwhile, Maurice Karnaugh was skeptical:
"Stansberry’s heavy handed exploitation of fear of SOCIALISM! and Obama hatred makes a very short story into a long one. It cannot disguise the shallowness of his economic analysis. I have no idea whether his special reports would be any better."
But not everyone, I found, was quite as dismissive. Here's what one Darrell Reid says:
"Perhaps the latest ploy by the International Bankers recently hatched in Basil Switzerland mandating return to the 'GOLD STANDARD' and abandonment of 'FIAT Currencies' will effect such massive economic upheavals that Obama could use EMERGENCY Powers available to him to achieve additional time in office….not an unlikely attempt by a personality such as his."
So what sense can we make of Mr Stansberry's predictions? What could his rationale be? After all, to forecast the End of America States and then, just two years later, to scrub that out and forecast an economic boom so spectacular that the president could refuse to leave office and seize an Obama Third Term, is - to me - flip-floppery of laughable proportion. So would it make me take his advice concerning my money?
The solution, of course, is that Mr Stansberry knows. His predictions are false. And could only be. There will be no End of America and no Obama Third Term. Porter simply made them up, for attention. And his plan worked, too, garnering him huge publicity, even from some credible outlets.
I haven't asked him, but I suspect that he thinks it doesn't matter. That what is true and what is false are flexible. In short, I believe that Porter has gone postmodern, relying on intellects that, had they been applied to investing, might have produced god only knows what.
Take the dead German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, for example, who was one of many European thinkers to claim that truth was dead. Or at least of no interest to the masses. In his book Das Wesen des Christentums, he argued way back in 1841:
"But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, fancy to reality... illusion only is sacred. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases."
In other words, lying's better. But it's not really lying. That's the beauty of the postmodern creed. On this way of thinking, reality is largely a social construct, so there is no absolute truth to betray. How you use "facts" is more important than the facts themselves. It's a slippery shape-shifting world.
So I'll end with a moral from the Christian old testament, which is always good for a quote. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 5, verse 20, for example, even they knew the risks of the postmodern:
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Or in Porter Stansberry's predictions, maybe not.