SEVERAL RIGHT-LEANING foreign national YouTubers have found an audience in Taiwan. They often purport to “explain” the culture of their home countries or Taiwan. Some promote vapid consumerism, an American lifestyle, and play heavily on shock value by making a spectacle of cultural differences.
Few, however, are as dangerous asAmerican YouTuber Sona Eyambe (伊恩貝). Eyambe pretends to be impartial and to do “tons of research,” but instead his videos present common far right-wing conservative arguments.
Starting in August, his Youtube channel, 好機車, started publishing a string of four videos entitled “The Aims of Extreme Political Correctness Culture”. The videos are in English with Chinese subtitles and have 50,000 to 300,000 views. In the videos, Eyambe explains that democracy in the US is over, that the left “dominates the United States” and claims that gender inequality is not a reality in Taiwan anymore.
Episode 4 of Sona Eyambe’s series
The tone in the series has become increasingly unhinged and conspiratorial, as time has gone on, culminating with episode 4, which is titled: “Why are there Transgender Children in the United States? The Fast-growing Transgender Surgery Market, who is the Awakening Industrial Complex Driving This?”
Sona Eyambe seems to want to capitalize on the moral panic seizing the US by scaring the Taiwanese audience for views. But what are his actual arguments and how do they hold up?
In this video, Eyambe argues that there is a “woke industrial complex” and that their goal is to make women more anxious so that they consume more. Eyambe also argues that children in the US are pushed to transition because hormone blockers and gender-affirming surgery are lucrative sources of profit.
Are Corporations Left-wing?
AS PROOF OF corporate support for feminism Eyambe uses “Fearless Girl,” the statue unveiled on Wall Street in 2017 and the fact that an investment firm commission the statue. We are told “Feminists jump all over this like bees on honey” (sic). In reality, of course, many feminists were critical of the statue.
The idea that the left is in power and that corporations are left-wing is very popular on the far right in the United States. Yet the truth is corporations often parrot social justice language as a marketing tool while doing very little to address the underlying issues. In fact, they are opposed to any meaningful idea of social justice.
Left-wing activists fight for better labor laws, laws that the business world has been trying to circumvent with a massive amount of jobs now being part of the gig economy. Additionally, inequality in the US and globally is at an all-time high, something left-wing parties have always warned about.
The “Fearless Girl” sculpture in its original location on Wall Street. Photo credit: Anthony Quintano/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
In recent history, there has been a greater emphasis on the left on social justice issues such as racism, feminism, gay rights, and transgender rights, as a way to advocate for progress for everyone, as capitalism tends to widen inequalities and leave certain groups behind. It is not uncommon for corporations to pretend to care about these issues. But they do so to promote their image. The claim by Eyambe that capitalists are secretly scheming and using feminism ideology to control the population is ridiculous and no evidence is actually provided to support that thesis.
Conservatives consider transgender people to be abnormal and it is their goal to deny them access to the care they need. To do so they have created an ideology in which LGBTQ+ people are “groomers” preying on children. They are gaining ground as exemplified by the Texas law equating gender-affirming medical treatments to transgender youths as “constitut[ing] child abuse”.
The Right is also constantly talking about events featuring drag queens and children, asmentioned in the video. But what harm is there in dressing up? The reactionary have always been quick to equate homosexuality with pedophilia and they are now equating LGBTQ+ rights in general with pedophilia, with dramatic consequences–ranging from just making life harder for LGBTQ+ people to actual mass shootings targeting them.
Another video in a similar vein from Eyambe, claiming the that the “extreme left” dominates the United States
Furthermore, the idea that there is some profit motive behind pushing kids to transition is completely ludicrous. The medical industrial complex is known for collusion and profiteering but to imply that a cabal is conspiring to push children to transition is complete lunacy, not supported by any proof.
In many of his videos, there is no logic between the main assertion and the content of the video. For example, he starts one of his videos by saying “the extreme left has dominated the United States”. There is no proof for this assertion, instead, we are presented with a 2015 video of a discussion between Nicholas Christakis and Students at Yale. This argumentative leap leads us to believe Eyambe merely regurgitates talking points from the American manosphere/anti-SJW movement. Furthermore, the escalating rhetoric points to a strategy on his part to acclimate viewers to more and more egregious arguments.
The use of videos from American college campuses has been a cornerstone of American conservative discourse. More specifically Eyambe consistently cites anti-CTR personalities and intellectuals such as Peter Boghossian, James A. Lindsay, Blaire White, and Jordan Peterson. Eyambe pretends to be fighting against the all powerful “woke industrial complex”. But effectively he fights for a well-funded network of conservative think tanks and advocacy groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation.
Sona Eyambe is Dangerous
IN RECENT YEARS, Taiwan has sometimes been hailed as the most progressive country for sexual rights in Asia, following the legalization of gay marriage in 2019. However, there is still a long way to go for Taiwan in terms of gender equality, racism, and discrimination towards gay and transgender people. It is regrettable for people like Sona Eyambe to adopt conspiratorial rhetoric and to try and create a moral panic for engagement. Eyambe pretends to be neutral, however, his arguments are the exact same as the American Far Right. Sona Eyambe is dangerous for promoting hateful theories in a country where it is still difficult and dangerous to be transgender.