An unforgettable warning was aired in 1965. It’s unsettling that it’s happened over 50 years later.
At his heydey, conservative American talk-radio pioneer Paul Harvey had tens of millions of listeners. His “idi-osyncratic delivery of news stories with dramatic pauses, strange intonations, and numerous of his typical lead-ins and sign-offs” made him a radio star.
His reporting was accurate, but no one could have predicted that his famous comments from decades ago would describe today’s reality. In 1965, famed ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey Aurandt, born in 1918, seemed to foretell the current state of the US.
Most people recognise the broadcast when they hear the famous sentence that’s also the speech’s title and repeated throughout the essay. In 1965, Paul Harvey famously quipped, “If I were the Devil,” before discussing current events. Harvey’s remarks are true, yet they may not be prophetic.
Sure, Paul Harvey penned his 1964 “If I Were the Devil” article. The 1965 essay is still popular. Harvey modified the version that circulates online to reflect current events throughout his life, which regrettably ended in 2009. We uncovered the oldest genuine Paul Harvey version of this piece in his 1964 newspaper column:
If I Were Evil
I would engulf the world in darkness if I were the Prince of Darkness.
I’d have a third of its real land and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be satisfied until I had the ripest apple on the tree. I should conquer the US by all means necessary.
I’d start with rumours.
I would murmur, “Do as you wish,” like I did to Eve.
I whispered, “The Bible is a hoax,” and convinced the children that “man made God.” “What is awful is good and what is good is square,” I say.
I would hint that work is degrading and cocktail parties are healthy to the young married. I would advise against being “extreme” in religion, patriotism, and morality.
I taught the aged to say, “Our father which are in Washington.”
I’d teach authors how to make filthy literature thrilling, making everything else boring.
Dirtier movies threatened TV, and vice versa.
I’d infiltrate unions and promote laziness. I frequently use idle hands.
I sold narcotics, alcohol, and pills.
If I were the devil, I would push schools to sharpen young minds but let emotions run wild.
I’d have an atheist represent me in the highest courts and get preachers to say, “She’s right.”
I would persuade the courts to vote against God and for po-r*ography with charm and power.
Consequently, I would exclude God from the judiciary, then the schoolhouse, then Congress.
I would replace religion with psychology and worship science in his churches.
Easter would be an egg if I were Sa-tan.
If I were the devil, I would steal from the rich and give to the poor until I killed ambition. Then my police state would make everyone work.
I would then split families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps.
If I were Satan, I’d keep doing what I’m doing and send the world to hell like the devil.
Paul Harvey. Gadsden Times. Oct 13, 1964 (p.4).]
Today, a 1996 newspaper version of Paul Harvey’s “If I Were the De-vil” is sometimes confused for the 1960s version. Differences exist.
The 1996 version added current events to the original essay’s structure and theme. Even though it’s nearly 20 years old, this rendition is spot-on for our nation:
I’d want to engulf the Earth in darkness if I were its prince.
I’d have a third of its land and four-fifths of its people, but I wouldn’t be satisfied until I got the ripest apple—you.
So, I would conquer the US by any means necessary.
First, I would whisper to subvert the churches.
Like I did to Eve, I would whisper, “Do as you please.”
I whispered the Bible is a fable to the children. I would persuade children that man made God. I say bad is good and good is square.
“Our Father, which are in Washington,” I would tell the elderly.
I’d gather and teach authors how to make lurid literature thrilling, making everything else boring.
I sold narcotics to anyone. I sold alcohol to aristocrats. Pills would calm the rest.
If I were the devil, I would soon have families, churches, and nations fighting until each was consumed.
With promises of bigger ratings, captivating media would feed the flames.
If I were the devil, I would push schools to develop young minds but not emotions. Teachers should let students run wild. Before long, every schoolhouse door would have dr-ug-sni-ffing dogs and metal detectors.
After a decade, pris-ons would overflow and judges would promote pornography. I would soon remove God from the judiciary, schoolhouse, and Congress.
Psychology and science would replace religion in his churches. I enticed priests and pastors to abuse children and church funds.
If I were the devil, I would steal from the rich and give to the poor until I extinguished ambition.
Can I convince states to encourage gambling as a method to get rich?
I would persuade the young that marriage is outdated, swinging is more fun, and TV is the way to live.
I may publicly address you and seduce you with incurable diseases.
Hence, if I were the devil, I would continue his actions.
Paul Harvey. Reading Eagle. July 1, 1996.]
Whether it’s the 1965, 1996, or another adaptation, Paul Harvey’s remarks are truer than ever. He had tremendous insight. Another Harvey comment may explain how he could allegedly foretell America’s future decades earlier.
“It’s helpful to realise that there have always been periods like these,” Paul Harvey said. His statements, whether prophetic or not, are strong and a warning to our nation that we should finally listen. Instead of embracing “times like these,” maybe we could right our ship and hurl the devil overboard.