Paul Harvey was a famous and well-respected conservative American radio broadcaster. In 1965, he did a broadcast in which he predicted what the future of the United States would look like, at least through his eyes. The predictions, which he revised over the years until his death in 2009, are surprisingly accurate to the current state of the country.
Paul Harvey’s 1965 “If I Were The Devil” Broadcast Is Surprisingly Accurate Today
Before we go into Paul Harvey’s speech and whether or not it is accurate today, we will remind you that he was a conservative, Christian man. This means that some of his opinions on religion and what is right and wrong may differ from yours. Some of the things he viewed as a negative change, you might view as positive. What holds true either way, is that what he wrote in that poem has, in fact, come true.
It is also important to note that the most recent version of the broadcast is not exactly the same as the original one that he delivered in 1965. Harvey updated it over the years to add more of the modern things that he was seeing as societal issues.
The following is the most updated version of his original broadcast in 1965:
“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.
To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.”
Paul Harvey, good day.”
Whether you share his religious beliefs or not, you have to admit that his “Warning To America” is surprisingly reflective of the United States that exists today. Those who believe in religion are declining – their numbers have been declining for decades. The Church has long since been removed from the majority of schools and their teachings, as well as from the government (more or less). The desired separation of Church and State is much more distinct now than it was in 1965.
Churches, themselves, particularly the Catholic ones, have faced many scandals and in many cases are quite corrupt. People gamble more, even just by buying weekly lottery tickets. Americans are getting married later in life than ever before if they choose to get married at all. While many continue to work hard, many others are in a constant search for getting rich and/or famous as quickly as possible. Everything is disposable, nothing is constant. Finally, sexually transmitted illnesses are spreading at alarming rates and people are certainly more sexually free than they were before.
As already mentioned, some of you reading this will view many of these things as positive. Harvey, as you can glean, did not. Whether you believe that what he was saying was good or bad, you have to admit that the facts of it are at least true. That is pretty impressive.
- ““If I Were The Devil”: A Warning to America From Paul Harvey.” Ilfop
- “If I Were the Devil: Paul Harvey (Clean Audio Version).” Youtube. Joe Danahue. March 22, 2012