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“In Book VIII of the Republic, Plato describes the state of the democratic city as a sate in which, instead of ruling, rulers have to obey, in which fathers obey their sons, and the elder imitate the younger, in which women and slaves are as ‘free’ as men and masters, and in which even the asses in the streets ‘hold on their way with the utmost freedom and dignity, bumping into everyone who meets them and do not step aside.’” (Ranciere, p. 49-50)

I personally find this state of “chaos” described by Plato to be a fairly accurate representation of democracy as it is often conceived of in America. Although it isn’t always accurate in practice, the idea of American democracy as allowing anyone to do whatever they like is very common. From people yelling “’Merica” while doing something stupid to declaring their right to free speech in situations where it isn’t necessarily applicable, many people see democracy as a free ticket to say or do anything.

The idea that “rulers have to obey” the people is also incredibly important in the common conception of America. This idea, articulated in “by the people, for the people,” typically makes a person think that the government will be fully responsive to the needs of the general population. Although this isn’t always the case with the American government, it is important to see that it is perceived as true.