Conceive of this sort of thing happening on many ships or on one. Picture a shipmaster in height and strength surpassing all others on the ship, but who is slightly deaf and similarly impaired vision, and whose knowledge of navigation is [equally impaired]. Consider the sailors to be wrangling with one another for control of the helm, each claiming that it is his right to steer though he has never learned the art and cannot point out his teacher or any time when he studied it.... they are always clustered about the ship master importuning him and sticking at nothing to induce him to turn over the helm to them. And sometimes if they fail and others get his ear, they put the others to death or cast them out from the ship and then, after binding and stupefying the worthy shipmaster with mandragora or intoxication or otherwise, they take command of the ship, consume its stores, and drinking and feasting, make such a voyage of it as is to be expected from such. (Plato, Rep. 6.488a-c) Jacques Ranciere, French philosopher at the University of Paris-VIII and student of Althusser, is a lover of the ancients and a lover of ideals of democracy, universal political participation, and social egalitarianism. He is also attentive to history and knows well, from the plethora of twentieth century examples, that when ships of state are governed by the wrong sort of men, the vessels become unseaworthy, riddled with fractures and punctures that put all the passengers at risk. Driven by what Ranciere deems 'monstrous' ideologies, the worst ships exceed in shamefulness even Plato's dark prophecies, leaving in their wake death camp, bloody revolution, and mass public execution.