By Haddon Libby

‘Coal Rollers’, Open Carry Texas, the Anti-Vaccination Movement and participants in the Gluten-free Living fad have more in common than any of them think. Before sharing their common thread, let’s look at each singularly.

Coal Rollers are men who customize their diesel-powered pickup trucks to blow thick black smoke into the air as they drive. These ‘patriots’ consider themselves conservative activists using their pollution as a protest against environmentalists and liberals. Many adorn their trucks with stickers that say “Prius Repellent”. One activist named Ryan openly admits to “blowing smoke” at Prius’ drivers as they are “liberals”. One Wisconsin truck customizer who would not give his name says, “You want clean air? Well, screw you!”

Open Carry Texas is a group founded by C.J. Grisham (no relation to the writer) last year. Grisham and his supporters often go into restaurants equipped with assault rifles. At one Jack-in-the-Box that they visited, employees locked themselves in the freezer and called the police as they feared for their lives. Grisham states that they normally call in advance to give the business a heads-up on their arrival and always “engage in friendly conversation”.

There is a growing Anti-Vaccination Movement (AVM) in the United States. Despite facts that show vaccinations to save more than 16 million lives per year, the AVM is led by scientific minds like Jenny McCarthy who claims that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) does not eliminate the spread of these diseases but causes autism. Some in the movement base their position on a 1998 study by U.K. doctor, Andrew Wakefield, who linked autism with the MMR vaccine. By 2011, it had been conclusively proven that Wakefield’s work was an ‘elaborate fraud’ meant to launch a private business venture.

Gluten-free Living is all the rage right now with many people claiming that they are gluten intolerant. Facts prove that only 1% of all Americans suffer from celiac disease – the only medical condition that requires a gluten-free lifestyle. People confuse the reduction of gassiness and bloating with gluten intolerance. The truth is that most of these people are beneficiaries of lower calorie intake, the consumption of more real foods and fewer processed or junk foods. The next time someone tells you that they are gluten intolerant ask them if they have had an intestinal biopsy – that is the only way to know if one has celiac disease.

The connection between these four movements is that they are united by ignorance – a condition sweeping America.

As such, I think it’s time for us to start a movement that combats all of these ignorance-based movements. Let’s call it the Society for the Mass Advancement of Reasonable Thoughts or SMART.

Where to start?

We know that fracking causes earthquakes. As such, let’s push for the end of fracking near the San Andreas faultline. That seems like a SMART idea.

Many environmentalists drink imported water in plastic containers. Do they realize how much energy is consumed in providing that water? Let’s push for the reduction of our carbon footprint by drinking filtered Agua de Coachella from reusable containers as those recyclable plastic water bottles are reentering the food supply through the fish we eat. Eating fish that have eaten plastic that is made from petrochemicals cannot be good for us. Let’s push for the use of biodegradable and compostable containers. Drinking local water from reusable containers seems like a SMART idea.

Lastly, why is the inflation rate on food and fuel in the 10% range and borrowing rates on credit cards are as high as 34% while interest rates on savings accounts are at less than 1%? Let’s push for the enforcement of usury laws. That is clearly a SMART idea.