Saying that Amherst College isn’t sufficiently leftist is like complaining that the ocean isn’t as large or wet as it could be.

That hasn’t prevented Meghna Sridhar from taking her argument to the Amherst Student paper.

The Lack of Leftist Discourse

There is a crucial, worrying and endemic lack of leftist discourse at Amherst College.

I’m assuming — and I beg your pardon if I am wrong — that if you’re the typical Amherst student (and I beg your pardon again for generalizing), this statement has thrown you into dizzy confusion, if not outright outrage — Amherst College? Not leftist enough?! We’re a bunch of self-righteous liberals that shun any conservative voices that dare use racial slurs or tell us we can’t abort what we like! If anything is the problem, it’s that we’re too liberal. Too leftist. Jeez, we even have a Multicultural Resource Center that’s not in the basement now, what more do you want?

You wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that, because it’s true — we are, in general, a college of self-righteous liberals. But therein lies the entire problem — the conflation of liberalism with leftism, the idea of a political spectrum that begins with conservatism and ends with liberalism, or, at most, an idea of social democratism that sits comfortably within the liberal paradigm of thought. There seems to be an inability to think outside this narrow framework, to conceive of a “left of liberal” that’s not just an extension of liberalism itself; a taboo to any sort of belief system that involves radicalism, Marxism, structural or post-structural frameworks of thought.

It’s symptomatic in a lot of ways the debates around campus are structured: for example, I’ve heard “but that sounds awfully socialist of you!” as a legitimate argument last year about some of the debates around the MRC. Not —”that sounds awfully socialist of you, and that’s bad because [x],” but “that sounds awfully socialist of you, and that should be enough for you to discard your argument,” because we’re all in a consensus that we hate socialism, right?