Experiments in absolute power have never worked, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Life and Death in Shanghai spurred my fascination with China and the Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao had flowers destroyed because of his belief that beauty created an unacceptable softness of character. At his instruction, people banged pots and pans in an effort to scare off the birds, which were supposedly destroying the crops. Teachers were mocked, imprisoned and murdered because they were part of the hated educated classes. And Mao is still revered. Absolute power and oppression are anathema to enlightenment and progress.