Greetings, Class of 2014,
Congratulations and welcome to Princeton University! More importantly, welcome to a serious institution of higher learning bereft of that immature, adolescent notion of socio-academic stratification—well, not entirely. On any given day, you are more likely than not to hear the name of one or more of the following mutually inclusive student classes: nerds, jocks, bros (lax-, frat-, or prefix-less)/sisters (Pi Phi, Theta, or Kappa), bandies, hippies, hipsters, fools, tools, power tools. And sadly, even if you attempt to avoid a social branding at all costs, you will inevitably fall into non-conformist.
To be sure, I have been called my fair share of names at Princeton. But of all the appellations I’ve received, none of them tingles quite so much as the “c-word.” While the word itself is not inherently obscene, nearly every time it is spoken on campus, one can detect an air of cold condescension and repugnance. Yet this term, for all the contempt that often accompanies it, wields no negative power over me. For what I mean by the “c-word” is, of course, the label conservative. And whether uttered by a student, faculty member, or anonymous Daily Princetonian web troll, the word sends a thrill up my leg akin to Barack Obama’s impression on Chris Matthews. But why should a term that evokes musty traditions and antiquated beliefs excite a college student like me?
The reason is that—quite paradoxically—the conservatives of Princeton are rebels. We are flaming revolutionaries for believing that an unarmed Public Safety force cannot adequately keep the public safe, that handing out free condoms promotes sexual responsibility about as much as handing out free candy promotes nutritional responsibility, and that gender follows biology. The Tory represents an intellectual counterpoint to the prevailing University orthodoxy. Rather than reporting on trivial campus gossip or the truly mundane in order to fill a daily news cycle, we investigate and research issues about which the University would rather you not think. In no other student publication will you see a comparable analysis of the Princeton’s overt political correctness, faculty bias, and administration injustice or incompetence.
The Tory is a publication not simply for conservative students, but for all students at Princeton. While we will occasionally comment on political issues, we strive to focus on the campus issues that impact you the most. The past year’s articles in this Freshman Issue highlight our commitment to exposing and understanding Princeton life outside of the classroom, both intellectually and socially.
As conservatives, we don’t try to stand out. In fact, we value humility and the importance of rationally grounded principles over ardent adherence to the latest intellectual or social fashions. We may not yield to the passing caprices of the age, but we’re actually quite normal. So if you see some of us around campus, come say hello. And don’t be afraid about using the “c-word”—in any context. Despite all that propaganda you might have absorbed by now, conservatism is by no means a dirty word.
Aaron Smargon ‘11
P.S. If you would like to get involved with the Tory, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or come check out our booth at the Student Activities Fair on Friday, September 17th, 12pm to 3pm, in Dillon Gym.