NZ a dictatorship? Pull the other one

Protesters who marched on Parliament in their thousands don’t seem to understand how democracies work, writes Polly Gillespie.
Jericho Rock-Archer/Stuff
Protesters who marched on Parliament in their thousands don’t seem to understand how democracies work, writes Polly Gillespie.

OPINION: "And now Miss Gillespie, for your shot at one million pounds and be crowned winner of the 'The Greatest Quiz Show On Earth here is your final category: 'Best dictators of all time!"

Generally, quizzers have specialist categories, don't they? Ostensibly 'Native Birds of the Amazon' or ' Obtuse Star Wars characters'. I like to think my specialist categories would be 'Length of pop songs from 1984 to 2016', 'Hues of blue' and 'Greatest dictators of all time'.

This is why I struggle with our current Prime Minister being referred to by some, generally yelling it, as a 'dictator'. It has nothing to do with my blurry political leanings or vaccination passports, but more semantics. I think I know my dictators. I don't wish to sound like a 'tyrant nerd', but if the Hugo Boss-designed hat and jackboots fit...

Adolf Hitler: Quite famous. Exterminated millions of innocent people in concentrations camps. Initiated World War 2. Tested cyanide on his own pet dog just to see if it worked. Synonymous with genocide, megalomania, and cruelty. Decimated Europe with no regret. I'm sure you know the grim story.

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Joseph Stalin: Successfully murdered his own people just for kicks. Terrified everyone who knew him. . Spent his younger days raising money for the Bolsheviks via robberies, kidnapping, and violence. On his extensive resume, responsible for mass repression, ethnic cleansing, widespread execution and famine. Sort of a 'Hitler extreme'.

Mao Zedong: More commonly known as Mao. Completely responsible for turning his countrymen against one and another through fear and establishment of 'The Cultural Revolution' A semi-successful plan to rid all of China of art, literature, freedom of speech, books, religion, celebration, laughter, fun and any personal freedom. Tens of millions of his people died through unjustified persecution, starvation and mass extermination. [His wife was also a nasty character].

Benito Mussolini: What can I say other than in the dictionary under 'psychopathic narcissist', most probably a picture of him would be posted. Ludicrous but deadly.

Pol Pot: I don't even wish to make light in any way this beast of a man, who is ruthlessly responsible for murdering his own people for simply having any form of education. Synonymous with The Killing Fields, I personally consider him to be the worst of the worst. I can not on any level understand how power can corrupt anyone enough to turn them into the blood-thirsty monster he was.

The 'Kim Jong Family' of North Korea, currently supreme leader being Kim Jong-un: So loathsome and barbaric that they not only starve their people of food, education, and any personal freedom, they quite regularly kill off close family members for looking them in the eye or glancing away from a clipboard they're nervously clutching on to.

STUFF
Confirmation bias: a hardwired part of human psychology, which can make us particularly vulnerable to online misinformation and disinformation.

I could go on and on, adding brutal tyrants like Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceausescu, Augusto Pinochet, but I feel I've made clear the definition of a dictator. A dictator does not allow protests. A dictator shoots dead protestors in their homes or in the streets. A dictator has towns of people murdered and buried in forests, or hauls them off to labour camps from where they never return. Dictators take whole families and slaughter them for wearing the wrong hat on a Tuesday. The term dictator is not a word to be bandied about just because you don't like your Prime Minister, who by the way does not rule or decide anything on her own. In our democratic country we have a Parliament, and a government and a cabinet. If Jacinda was to go 'rogue' and start deciding to implement her own agenda, she would be swiftly, and kindly, carted off to a secure mental health facility.

Some people might suggest Donald Trump was a dictator, but even he fails the mark. No, Donald Trump was simply a 'Dick'.