All Hail Princetonia


Princetonia (prin-ˈstō-nē-ə) – n. the independent nation of Princeton (not to be confused with the asteroid 508 Princetonia)

On September 18th, the people of Scotland voted on a referendum to break off from the United Kingdom and become a sovereign nation. The referendum failed, but that’s beside the point. The point is that if Scotland can (almost) become independent, why shouldn’t Princeton University become a nation in its own right, too?

Scotland isn’t the only autonomous region with independence fever. On November 9th, Catalonia plans to vote on whether to declare independence from Spain. Sure, the vote is a non-binding “consultation”, and, sure, the Spanish prime minister has said, “I want to tell you with all clarity that this consultation will not take place.” But still, it’s the spirit of wanting a vote that matters. The people of Princeton (soon to be known as the splendorous republic of Princetonia) should want a vote. Here’s why:

1. Self-Determination

Just like Scotland and Catalonia, the University is currently subservient to a far-away government that doesn’t answer directly to Princeton’s students, faculty, and staff. This tyranny must end! To paraphrase Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, “The people who live in [Princeton] are best placed to make the decisions that affect [Princeton].”

It is undeniable that the United States government is currently forcing democracy down the throats of Princetonians. The magnificent commonwealth of Princetonia should have the opportunity adopt a different political system, such as monarchy (long live King Christopher of Eisgruber!), geniocracy (rule by the intelligent), magocracy (rule by wizards), or uniocracy (rule by the collective consciousness of all Princetonians amalgamated into a hive mind).

2. Ideology

Just as Scotland is more liberal than the rest of the UK, Princeton is significantly more liberal than the rest of the United States. The campus is, according to The Tory, “stocked overwhelmingly with liberals”, and students receive a liberal arts education. Is this a coincidence? No. There are no coincidences. So shouldn’t Princeton be able to enact liberal governmental policies without Washington interference? You decide. (There is a wrong answer (the wrong answer is no).)

3. Energy

Proponents of Scotland’s independence trumpeted that country’s oil reserves. Princeton also has the potential to produce unimaginable amounts of energy. The University operates the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Rumor has it that PPPL has discovered cold fusion, but all the reactors are tied up piping electricity directly to the NSA’s surveillance centers. With autonomy, the glorious utopia of Princetonia could instead sell the power from the reactors on the open market, benefiting even non-Princetonians by freeing them from overzealous government monitoring! By exporting all this energy, Princetonia could become richer than all of OPEC combined, and any remaining energy could be used to power a new supersonic flying nuclear monorail connecting Forbes and the E-Quad.

4. Culture and History

Scotland and Catalonia have unique cultures; so does Princeton. “Eating clubs”, “arch sings” and “late meal” are alien concepts almost everywhere else on Earth. With independence, the unparalleled domain of Princetonia could enjoy a cultural Renaissance.

Scotland, Catalonia, and Princeton each have their own language. In fact, some linguists propose that the Princetonian language is more distinct from English than Scots or even Catalan. Walk outside the “Orange Bubble” and ask a stranger, “Have you seen my zee’s prox?” They will stare at you with a blank expression and slowly walk away from you.

What’s more, Princeton’s idiosyncratic culture and history are especially intertwined with the culture and history of Scotland:

The University was founded as a Presbyterian college, and Presbyterianism has roots in Scotland. Famed Princeton president and Declaration of Independence signer John Witherspoon moved directly from Scotland in order to run Princeton. The Scottish-born Robert Smith designed Nassau Hall. Even Woodrow Wilson was of Scots-Irish descent. The connections go on: Princeton’s colors are orange and black. Orange and black are the traditional colors of Halloween. The word “Halloween” comes from Scotland. The culture of the University features prominently in This Side of Paradise, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The tiger is the maSCOT of Princeton. The truth is that Princeton has no relation to “America”. It is Scotland in disguise.

5. International Influence

Princeton’s unofficial motto is “In the nation’s service, and in the service of all nations.” With independence, Princeton could better fulfill its motto because “the nation” would refer to Princetonia itself. And what better way to serve all nations than to become a full member of the United Nations? Every Woody Woo graduate could be the ambassador to some country. Princetonia could also join NATO, the Group of 7, the European Union, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and, of course, the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

It is clear why Princeton should become a nation. But does it even make sense for Princeton to become a country? Yes! Some may claim that Princeton University is too tiny to be a country in its own right. NOT TRUE. The splendiferous polity of Princetonia would be more populous than 18 other countries (Vatican City, anyone?). And Princeton’s economy would be sizable: its endowment is greater than the GDPs of Liberia, Somalia, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, and Grenada combined. What would be the seat of Princeton’s government? Nassau Hall. It was the capitol of the USA for four months in 1783, which makes it all the more fitting that it shall be the center of governance of our new country.

So, fellow Princetonians, let us rejoice by singing Princetonia’s national anthem, “Old Nassau” (which, suspiciously was first sung to the tune of the traditional Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne”) and toast to Princetonian independence! Even if our movement does not succeed, it is important to remember that the mere possibility of independence could scare the US government into giving Princeton more autonomy. The University could at least become its own state.

– BE ’18

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