News & Politics

'In a Word, Ludicrous.' Entrepreneur Leads REVOLT Against Whitmer's Lockdown Orders

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

A Michigan business owner is rallying Michiganders to defy Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D-Mich.) “ludicrous” coronavirus orders in a “Take Yourself to Work (Day)” on May 21. He has argued that the “breathless reporting” about coronavirus and the economic devastation of the lockdowns are far more dangerous than the COVID-19 itself.

“Michigan and the USA need economic CPR, I’m asking all people to stand and join us on the ‘Take Yourself to Work Day’ May 21, 2020, and do the right thing, get back into society,” Erik Kiilunen, the CEO of the Neuvokas Corporation in Ahmeek, Mich., told PJ Media.

Kiilunen has spearheaded a billboard campaign proclaiming the message, “All Business Is Essential,” and he plans to put that message into practice this Thursday.

“In the midst of the economic suicide of the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen, and the financial ruin of her citizens, there remains the only hope we’ve ever had—allowing those who built the greatest country in the world to get back to work,” he argued. Kiilunen is calling on Michiganders to stand up to the lockdowns, echoing America’s founding spirit of self-reliance and the right to challenge oppression.

The business owner is consciously echoing a familiar refrain: the “take your child to work days” that allowed kids to see how their parents worked.

“In the recent past, we had the leisure to dedicate a day to taking our children to work in order to show them what puts food on the table and what makes the country run. It’s time we reminded ourselves: The American citizen has no obligation to sit idly by while his savings and his livelihood are bled dry,” Kiilunen declared.

In an interview with PJ Media, the business owner described Whitmer’s executive orders as “in a word, ludicrous.”

“Tell me how liquor, the lottery, and marijuana are essential while rakes, brooms, and paint aren’t,” Kiilunen said. “Tell me how it is safe to walk with a large crowd in Wal-Mart but not in a hometown business.”

“I calculate that the psychological damage created by 24/7 breathless reporting that is being directed at the American public will do far more harm than the nCoV-19 virus,” the businessman argued. Indeed, a study from JustFacts concluded that anxiety from the pandemic, including anxiety from the lockdowns, will likely lost at least seven times more in terms of years of life lost than the lockdowns could possibly hope to save.

“Tell me how placing a healthy population under house arrest for 3 months, fed with processed food, beer or soda, given zero exercise, zero exposure to any viruses, and then bombarded with wall-to-wall coverage of death and apocalyptic danger can end well,” Kiilunen said. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

All Business Is Essential

The businessman has erected billboards reading “All Business Is Essential” across the state and he has launched a fundraiser to expand the campaign. As of Tuesday afternoon, he has raised more than $31,000 of his $50,000 goal.

All Business is essential billboard in Michigan, courtesy of Erik Kiilunen.

Economic Disobedience or Economic Suicide, your choice,” the fundraiser warns.

Fact: Globally 50,000,000 people will die each year,” his website argues. The coronavirus pandemic “is serious but the 200,000 deaths related to COVID-19 amount to .004% of the expected deaths. According to the World Health Organization, the common flu will kill 650,000 this year. This is more than 3X the amount currently on record for COVID-19, where is the outcry?”

To some degree, all business is essential. America’s economy is struggling with millions out of work and some workers receiving more money on unemployment than they would on the job. Work provides value in the economy, and paychecks sustain individuals and families across America. Productive work also gives workers a sense of dignity that is essential to human flourishing. While a temporary hiatus may be acceptable (and in some places may even be necessary), these extended lockdowns have driven businesses to the breaking point.

The coronavirus lockdowns were originally justified based on predictions of a COVID-19 death rate much higher than recent studies suggest. The lockdowns also made sense because cities like New York feared the pandemic would tax their health care systems to the breaking point, as it had done in Northern Italy. While the New York City area is the epicenter for the virus in the U.S., COVID-19 did not overtax Gotham’s health system, and the predicted ventilator shortage never came to pass.

While the coronavirus is a serious disease, and Americans should take precautions to protect themselves, the time for government intervention to bring the economy to a standstill is over — outside of hotspots like New York and Washington, D.C.

Kiilunen’s “Take Yourself to Work Day” coincides with President Donald Trump’s trip to Michigan on Thursday to visit a Ford manufacturing plant. Trump has criticized Whitmer for her unwillingness to engage with anti-lockdown protesters and Republicans in the legislature who opposed her lockdown extension. Trump’s visit should highlight Kiilunen’s “Take Yourself to Work Day” effort.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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UPDATED: Armed Protesters Flood Michigan Capitol as Whitmer Attempts to Override State Legislature