Fundamentals of Conservatism for a Constitutional Republic

On September 18, 2010 four New Jersey conservatives met in a tavern in Morristown, NJ to discuss the creation of ConservativeNewJersey, a website dedicated to the preservation and promotion of solid political Conservatism and the support of solidly Conservative candidates for federal, state and local office here in the Garden State.

Driven by concern over the rapidly escalating growth of federal and state government, unsustainable levels of deficit spending which threaten to bankrupt generations yet unborn coupled with the failure of the existing Republican Party establishment to adequately address the alarming political and economic conditions which threaten the future of our free market republic, the founders of ConservativeNewJersey resolved to create a forum of Conservative ideas and commentary that would serve as a springboard to political office for candidates dedicated to Conservative principles that best ensure the preservation of individual liberty.

To this end we hereby issue our Statement of Principles:


We advocate a reduction in the size and scope of government at all levels to that which is specifically enumerated in their respective constitutions.

The U.S. Constitution is designed to limit the scope of the federal government by granting it certain enumerated powers with the balance of power reserved for the states and the people respectively. A properly written state constitution will reflect the federal design and likewise grant the state certain limited, enumerated powers while reserving the balance of power to localities and the people, respectively. We believe firmly that the unalienable rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness trump government power at every level.

Government Spending

We advocate a reduction in the size and scope of federal and state governments to those powers and responsibilities specifically enumerated in their respective constitutions.

To this end we advocate that the runaway spending in Trenton and Washington, DC be reduced drastically and brought under control. Substantial reductions in government spending are consistent with our philosophy that the best and most efficient form of government is limited government.


We advocate a tax code that collects only the revenue necessary to support the constitutionally authorized activities of the government.

Ideally, the rate would be a low, flat one applicable to ALL wage and income earning individuals and households without exception, thereby giving everyone a stake in ensuring that government does not spend more than it needs to spend. Since any increase in the tax rate would affect all tax payers and not just those with higher incomes, it follows that the entire population of taxpaying citizens will be less inclined to support such increases.


We believe that private enterprise in a free market with minimal government regulation is a powerful engine of social progress and prosperity for all people.

We believe in economic freedom – both the freedom to succeed, and the freedom to fail – and therefore hold that the regulatory role of the federal government in the free market is limited by the Constitution to promoting interstate commerce (not hindering it) and enforcing laws and regulations designed only to ensure that the legitimate economic interests of individuals and corporations in one state are not infringed or violated by other individuals and corporations in other states. Similarly, we believe that the regulatory role of state governments ought to be limited to promoting intrastate commerce (not hindering it) and enforcing laws and regulations designed only to ensure that the legitimate economic interests of individuals and corporations in that state are not infringed or violated by other individuals and corporations in that state.


We advocate a strong, combat-ready U.S. military and a strong intelligence gathering capability.

A well-trained and well-equipped military together with agencies that gather intelligence on the activities of actual and potential enemy threats to the United States is an enormous deterrent to enemy aggression – a reality so well demonstrated throughout history as to be axiomatic.


We believe the Second Amendment right of private citizens to keep and bear firearms is absolute and inviolable.

Every individual has a fundamental right to protect his and his family’s life, liberty and property. It follows that a well armed citizenry is a critical deterrent to those who would deprive them of these things, be they common criminals or political tyrants.

Foreign Policy

We believe the sovereignty and safety of the United States of America is paramount and must always be preserved and defended.

As far as possible without diminishing our own sovereignty or endangering the safety of American lives or interests here or abroad, the United States should maintain friendly relations with all nations who reciprocate these sentiments. Likewise, the Unites States should make clear to all aggressors that we will protect ourselves and our legitimate interests here and abroad, including the use of pre-emptive force if we determine that a clear and present danger exists to our national security.

Border Security

We believe that securing the borders of this nation and enforcing immigration laws are critical components of our national defense.

It is the responsibility of the federal government – not the border states – to furnish the requisite funding for the manpower and equipment necessary to accomplish this mission which ought not to be hampered or hindered for partisan political reasons. Nor is any new legislation really necessary: we need only enforce existing immigration laws to effectively control this problem.


We believe the influx of immigrants from other nations should be both encouraged and regulated to maximize assimilation and that English should be the official language of the United States.

Ours is a nation of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants; we are proud of that heritage and wish it to continue. We believe that the freedom to engage in commerce with foreign nations includes the opportunity for their people to emigrate to the United States in a properly structured and regulated process that is consistent with our national security interests and does not discriminate for or against the flow of capital or labor across our national borders.

We further believe that English ought to mandated by federal law as the official language of the United States and that, with exceptions for diplomatic purposes, all federal documents be published only in English.


We believe that candidates for federal and state judicial office should be well-qualified, possess outstanding intellectual acumen, unimpeachable moral character and a firm belief in Strict Constructionism.

A great many of our woes can be laid at the feet of a judiciary that too often departs from its role as impartial arbiter of the facts and interpreter of the Constitution and assumes the role of legislator. When dangerous and ill-designing people cannot achieve success for their agenda at the ballot box they attempt (and often succeed) in doing so through the courts. This pernicious and destructive practice must end.


We believe that the Founders of our nation and Framers of our Constitution respected the privacy of people to worship in their own way or not worship at all.

Religious issues are contentious because they affect us on the most personal levels. The Framers wisely included the Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights, but did so to prevent the federal government from establishing or supporting religion, not to have the government oversee and micromanage religious expression in public forums or prevent the people from publicly exercising their freedom of worship. It is a matter of historical fact that the United States – though founded as a religion-neutral republic – has a distinctly Judeo-Christian imprint which still remains on the national character after 230 years. We likewise believe that state and local governments ought to follow this example.

Social Issues

We believe that since the so-called “social issues” (i.e., reproductive rights, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc.) are ultimately contingent on the viability of the republic and the preservation of individual liberty, prudence dictates that we address the latter before the former.

We likewise understand that a wide range of opinions and positions regarding these issues exists in Conservative ranks. To this end we propose the following “Big Tent” policy: Any and every belief on a social issue must be reconcilable with the principles of limited government and individual liberty in a constitutional republic. We believe that disagreement on one or more social issues is not a license to violate other Conservative principles on which there is and should be no disagreement. We therefore believe that, for example, while opinions may differ on such issues as abortion and stem cell research, there can be no disagreement on the Conservative principle that government at any level should not fund such activities, as it is violates the principle of limited government (science and medicine are private sector activities) and violates the right to conscience of those who hold contrary beliefs.

We reject the use of social issues to divide us on issues where matters of conscience and religious belief can lead individuals to different conclusions – but we believe that such disagreements pre-suppose fidelity to Conservative commitments to fiscal responsibility and the proper limits on government scope, power and spending.