Prominent, militant atheists and short men

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New atheist Sam Harris with Patrick McKenna.

Women prefer to marry men who are somewhat taller than them.[1] defines Napoleon complex (often called short man's syndrome) as "the condition of being small in stature but aggressively ambitious and seeking absolute control".[2]

In 2008, The Telegragh reported concerning short men:

It is said they are prone to bouts of aggression, showing off and keeping a close eye on their wives or girlfriends at parties.

Vertically challenged men may argue that the notion of a "short man syndrome" is an unfair, inaccurate stereotype. However, scientists have now proved small men do make more jealous husbands and lovers than their taller, more relaxed counterparts.[3]

Below are various militant atheists who were/are small in stature.

Vladimir Lenin

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[4] He was 5' 5".

The American journalist John Reed wrote concerning Vladimir Lenin:

A short, stocky figure, with a big head set down in his shoulders, bald and bulging. Little eyes, a snubbish nose, wide, generous mouth, and heavy chin; clean-shaven now, but already beginning to bristle with the well-known beard of his past and future. Dressed in shabby clothes, his trousers much too long for him.[5]

Joseph Stalin

The militant atheist Joseph Stalin was 5ft. 4" tall (1.63 m).[6] President Harry S. Truman, who stood 5ft 9" tall (1.75 m), described Stalin as "a little squirt".[7] Stalin wore platform shoes to make himself look taller.[8] In addition, he was known to have his portraits and statues done in such a way that he appeared significantly taller, and also disguise both scars that resulted from earlier infection to small pox as well as a withered arm. He was also known to hate associating himself with taller people within the Soviet hierarchy, to the extent that most of his inner circle were either as short as or shorter than him.

Nikolai Yezhov

The former NKVD head Nikolai Yezhov, who took over the position after having his predecessor Genrikh Yagoda executed, was 4ft 11 1/4" tall. He was also known to be exceptionally brutal and cruel to those he interrogated, to the extent that his cruelty and short nature earned him the nicknames of "The Poison Dwarf" and "The Bloody Dwarf".[9]

Marquis de Sade

The militant atheist the Marquis de Sade was 5' 3" [1.60 m] in height and he was a very militant atheist.[10] De Sade was a very aggressive and perverse man who wanted to inflict pain on others. The word sadism is derived from his name.

PZ Myers

Atheist PZ Myers is the man on the right.

In a 2014 lecture, the atheist PZ Myers said he is known for being a "weird," "loud," "radicalized" and "firebrand" type of "New Atheist."[11]

Subsequent to the decline of the New Atheism movement, Myers wrote, "History will not remember me...".[12] In July 2017, Myers renounced the New Atheism movement.[13]

In 2010, Myers took a picture with a man and in the picture he looks considerably shorter than the other man.[14]

Dan Barker

A picture of militant atheist Dan Barker is featured here: Dan Barker and Imam Karim Abuzaid - Google image search (In the picture which features five men, Dan Barker is the short man on the furthermost left).

In the picture, Dan Barker is significantly smaller than Imam Karim Abuzaid of the Colorado Muslim Society.

Sam Harris

In 2006, the new atheist Sam Harris took a picture with Patrick McKenna and Harris appears to be short in stature in the picture.[15]

Kim Jong Un

Business Insider indicates concerning the North Korean, atheist, dictator Kim Jong Un:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly wears special shoes to make himself look taller...

Kim was thought to be about 5' 7", according to The Washington Post, but this new analysis of his shoes suggests he's actually closer to 5' 4".[16]

Kim Jung-Il

The North Korean dictator Kim Jung-il, a staunch atheist and adherent to Communism, was known to wear platform shoes and wear his hair in a manner that made him appear taller. Madeleine Albright, then-Secretary of State, mentioned that when he wasn't in his shoes, she stood "eye-to-eye" with him, meaning both were 5'3".[17]

Lawrence Krauss

New Atheism is a form of militant atheism.

When the physicist and new atheist Lawrence Krauss took a picture with the Society of Physics Students chapter in University of Alaska, Fairbanks, he was clearly shorter than all (or nearly all) of the other men.[18]

Benito Mussolini

In his work entitled Mussolini Denis Mack Smith wrote about Benito Mussolini:

From his father he [Mussolini] had learnt to be a thoroughgoing anti-clerical. He proclaimed himself to be an atheist and several times tried to shock an audience by calling on God to strike him dead. He forcibly denounced those socialists who thought religion a matter for individual conscience or had their children baptised. [In Mussolini's opinion] Science had proved that God did not exist and the Jesus of history was an ignorant Jew whose family thought him mad, and who was a pigmy compared to the Buddha. Religion, he said, was a disease of the psyche, an epidemic to be cured by psychiatrists, and Christianity in particular was vitiated by preaching the senseless virtues of resignation and cowardice, whereas the new socialist morality should celebrate violence and rebellion."[19]

Mussolini was short of stature and is often cited as a man with Napoleon complex which is commonly referred to as short man's syndrome.[20]

Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre, the founder of the atheistic, existentialism philosophy, was noted to be diminutive (being about 5' 0")[21] as well as having a deformed face.[22] He is also shown to be very petty in his relationships, breaking off his friendship with Albert Camus due to disagreement with Sartre's philosophy.[23]

Adam Kirsch wrote in The Daily Beast about Sartre:

Subversively, Sartre turns his piece ["Portrait of the Adventurer"] into a rejection of precisely that type of human being, in favor of what he calls “the militant”—that is, the militant Communist, the party member. When he writes, “Rather than taking your ego from you, the Party gives it to you,” he means this as high praise: the militant extinguishes his individual personality and becomes a pure function of the class struggle. “He is never alone because he discovers himself through the others. He possesses neither depth nor secrets.” At the end of this hymn to soullessness, even Sartre himself seems to recoil: “Yet a socialist society in which future Lawrences would be radically impossible would strike me as sterile,” he confesses.

This tension between the demands of the revolution and the demands of the free individual continued to toss Sartre to and fro, politically speaking. After the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, he writes The Ghost of Stalin, in which he condemns Stalinist crimes while still trying to extenuate them as the necessary birth pangs of socialism: “Must one give the name of socialism to this bloody monster that tears itself apart? I answer frankly: yes … we had to have that one or none at all.”

By 1968, the Soviet crackdown on Czechoslovakia left Sartre with no choice but to abandon his illusions about the U.S.S.R. “The Socialism That Came In From the Cold,” his essay on Czech culture under communism, is as clear-eyed an analysis as any dissident could offer. Yet even then, he condemns this socialism in the name of a potentially better one. By then, he has transferred his illusions about liberation to the Third World. In his famous introduction to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, he writes with unconcealed glee about the prospect of Algerians killing their former masters, which happen to be the French. At the bottom of much of Sartre’s politics, in fact, there lies a frank enjoyment of hatred, which also expresses itself in some of his polemics against enemies and former friends. That is why We Have Only this Life to Live ends up seeming less like an inspiration than an existential warning: a great intellect alone, it shows, does not make a great man.[24]

See also


  1. Why Women Want Tall Men
  2. Napoleon complex
  4. Investigating atheism: Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on July 17, 2014. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
  6. Tolstoy, Nikolai. Stalin's Secret War. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (1981), ISBN 0-03-047266-0, 19–21. ISBN 0-03-047266-0. 
  7. McCullough, David (9 April 1952). Truman. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-6029-9. Retrieved on 25 June 2010. 
  8. Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives
  9. Steve Phillips (2000). Stalinist Russia. Heinemann, 42. Retrieved on 12 August 2015. 
  11. Which Is the Real PZ Myers?, Evolution News and Views, Casey Luskin June 9, 2014 12:07 PM
  12. Apparently, the atheist PZ Myers recognizes that the New Atheism movement failed and that the 21st century is going to be a century of desecularization, Examining Atheism
  13. The New Atheism is dead. Long live atheism.
  14. [1]
  15. Sam Harris and Patrick McKenna
  16. Photo analysis reportedly reveals the special shoes Kim Jong Un wears to make him look taller, Business Insider, 2018
  17. Craziest Kim Jong-Il Moments
  18. Hidden Realities: Lawrence Krauss’s Trip to Alaska
  19. "Mussolini", by Denis Mack Smith, Vintage Books, 1983, page 8.
  20. Short man syndrome
  21. Jean-Paul Sartre: Mind and Body, Word and Deed
    "Their [Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir's] private lives were wildly experimental. Simone de Beauvoir had affairs with both men and women, while Sartre, despite his stunted stature and ugly squint, was always surrounded by adoring muses happy to pamper his genius."
  24. How Jean-Paul Sartre's Existential Angst Got the Better of Him by Adam Kirsch, The Daily Beast, 06.28.13