To conserve something is to want to preserve and protect it. American Conservatives want to return our government to doing only what is listed in Article I Section 8 of our Constitution. Anything that is not expressly authorized by it is to be either eliminated or done by the various state or local governments.
I have to quibble with this statement, as it is often made and consistently wrong. The powers of the government are explicitly NOT
all contained in Article I, Section 8, and that provision itself is often misinterpreted by "so-called" conservatives. To wit: Section 1. provides that "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives." Section 4 (in pertinent parts), "the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations," and "unless they shall by law appoint a different day." Section 10 (in pertinent part) "all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of the Congress." There are many other examples. Section 8 deals entirely
with the collection and expenditure of taxes
, and contains the proviso
"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
" If Section 8 were exclusive
, this phrase would be meaningless. It is not.
Moreover, Article I, Section 8, cl. 1, explicitly states that "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense
and general welfare
of the United States[.]" These are coextensive authorities, yet I have noticed that conservatives like to ignore one, but have no qualms about extending the other. It is, frankly, a ridiculous argument and it irritates me exceedingly.