They want the type of history the Chinese used to write, wherein virtue of corruption leads to dynastic ascendancy or decline.
The answer, I will argue throughout this book, is that the crackdown in china was for Americans a drama with an unexpected, incorrect ending.
As such , it challenged the common meanings at the core of their major public institutions.
By "drama" here, I simply mean a moral story, a narrative in which the virtues and vics of the characters lead to a chain of
actions culminating in a conclusion.
A drama represents a moral vision, a set of concrete examples of good and bad conduct
and a framework for illustrating the consequences of such conduct.
In what we usually think of as a good drama, the relationship between virtue and vice are complicated, the ending ambiguous.
But the ending is supposed to be consistent with the drama's distinctions between right and wrong.
Vice is not supposed to be rewarded. a hero's demise is supposed to be due to a tragic flaw, not a virtue.
In a satisfactory drama, the good guys may indeed suffer, but the bad guys shouldn't win.
A good drama is not supposed to preach, but it most certainly is supposed to engage its audience.
It is supposed to make members of its audience identify with its characters, to come to a deeper self-understanding in light of what happens to the drama's protagonists.
Most people want to see drama in history; they want to tell each other stories in which good or bad people impel themselves toward a fitting end.
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