Crackpot theorists

I've recently noticed a major upswing in the prevalence of crackpot theorists among adherents of the right. For example:

Jude Wanniski, the crackpot economist who claims all those Ph.Ds in econ know nothing about the subject, that gold is the only real currency, and that the NASDAQ was undervalued at 5,000 and would go up much further.

Scott Lively, co-author of that hilarious fraud book, The Pink Swastika, which claims that the Nazi party was not a nationalist/racist organization, but rather a gay group founded by gays for the purpose of promoting homosexuality; and furthermore, that mainstream historians are conspiring the suppress this truth.

Dr. Judith Reisman, author of various "studies" in opposition to gay rights, one of which claims that 72% of gay personal ads have explicitly Nazi content.

Pat Robertson, former candidate for the Presidency and author of The New World Order, a book about a cabal which secretly runs the world.

Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box which admittedly isn't as ridiculous as the others on this list, but which is still easily refuted by anyone with elementary critical thinking skills and which was refuted almost immediately after its publication, but Behe still persists.

...and innumerable other crackpots on various other subjects (mainly history, economics, evolutionary biology, and psychology) whose names are less well known, but whose theories are no less ridiculous.

Normally, I wouldn't give crackpot theorists much attention. But I'm genuinely concerned about the sudden prevalence of crackpot theory, and its sudden widespread influence on American political life. Although these crackpot authors may appear ridiculous, they're taken quite seriously by many people on the right; and their crackpot contentions are treated (by rightists) as if they were basic and well-established facts. Thus I can find, in online discussion forums and in live discussion groups, nearly universal assent on such notions as, the recent origin of the Earth, the falsity of evolution in the eyes of most scientists, the responsibility of gay people for causing the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the Nazi one, the historical view that both capitalism and the u.s. constitution are derived from ancient Judeo-Christian sources, and the allegation that Professors are all moral relativists and are trying to impose that view now.

I'm not meaning to be an alarmist, but the prevalence of crackpot theorists in prior eras has been a harbinger of extremely unpleasant episodes. So goes the saying, "if you can make people believe absurdities, you can make them commit atrocities."

I'm becoming convinced that we need a foundation for the public refutation of crackpot theory. Such a foundation would be as beneficial to mankind as foundations which benefit the arts and humanities. If such a foundation existed earlier in the century, then perhaps the Protocols of the Elders of Zion wouldn't have been so influential; and perhaps if we had the foundation now, the Protocols wouldn't be undergoing a resurgence.