Along the Tracks

Monday, November 18, 2002

Philosophical cleaning

Everywhere these days, it seems, I find reference to the “dustbin of history.” This or that will be swept or tossed (sometimes, “relegated” - relegated?) into the “dustbin of history.” Where is this dustbin? I have some philosophical cleaning to do, and I was wondering wear to put my sweepings and other refuse.

Anyway, is a dustbin much different than a plain-old waste basket? Is there a limit to the size of things you put in a dustbin? Must they be biodegradable - are pop cans and plastics a no-no? If so, are there philosophical parallels? “You can’t toss liberalism into the dustbin of history! It will always be around!” Is there a special bin for “recycled” philosophies - you know, like fascism recycled into Islamism?

And what happens when the dustbin is full? Out in rural America, we have these old metal drums we call “burn barrels.” We empty our wastebaskets (and dustbins, I suppose) full of “burnables” into our burn barrels and light ‘em up, condensing our trash into handy little piles of ash. Can one do the same thing with the “dustbin of history,” once it’s full - just toss it all into “history’s burn barrel”?

Hey, when history’s burn barrel is full, can I just dump it onto the “ashheap of history”?

Just wondering. Sorry, it’s a Monday.

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