Prophetic words from the ABC radio commentator Paul Harvey during his broadcast on April 3, 1965 with pictures, images and graphics (and possibly audio) added from more current times.*
PAUL HARVEY’S ‘IF I WERE THE DEVIL’ TRANSCRIPT
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 it’s 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 that 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 wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet? I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as thee 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 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 on what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.”
Paul Harvey began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR after he moved to Chicago in June 1944. Harvey added ‘The Rest of the Story’ as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946. WENR and WLS used the same frequency, 890 kHz, in a time-sharing agreement until 1954 when ABC bought 50 percent of WLS and merged the two stations. WENR was then defunct, but the call letters are used today by a radio station in Englewood, Tennessee broadcasting on 1090 kHz.
Beginning in 1952, Harvey was a friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover; the men were introduced to each other by Rep. Fred Busbey (R-Illinois); Harvey would often submit “advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval.”
One of Harvey’s regular topics was lax security, especially at Argonne National Laboratory, a nuclear test site about 20 miles west of Chicago. Just after midnight on February 6, 1951, Harvey trespassed at Argonne to demonstrate the lax security. He was immediately apprehended. Espionage charges were considered, but a grand jury did not convict him.
Harvey’s friendship with Hoover perhaps helped Harvey escape criminal charges relating to his trespassing at Argonne National Laboratory. Harvey was also a close friend of Senator Joseph McCarthy and supporter of his search for Communists.
During the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Harvey was televised in five-minute editorial that local stations could insert into their local news programs or show separately.
Harvey was a close friend of Reverend Billy Graham. He attended Calvary Memorial Church, in Oak Park from the mid-1970′s to the mid-1980′s.
Salon magazine called him the “finest huckster ever to roam the airwaves.” while critics pointed out that his blending of content and product endorsements was misleading or confusing to his audience. Harvey considered advertising as just another type of news.
Paul Harvey is credited with coining the term “skyjack” for aircraft hijacking. He is also credited with coining the terms “Reaganomics” and “guesstimate.”
Paul Harvey was married to Lynne Cooper of St. Louis. She is credited with giving his career its successful trajectory. Lynne died at age of 92 on May 3, 2008. He died February 28, 2009, at the age of 90.
*The audio and transcript is apparently edited to represent the 1996 version by Paul Harvey. There is also a version circulating on the Internet since about 1999 that is attributed to Paul Harvey, but is not the words of Paul Harvey — similar, but not authentic Paul Harvey.
See also …
Snopes.com Paul Harvey ‘If I Were the Devil’ [The Snopes article compares text from the 1964 news article by Paul Harvey with the 1996 newspaper article by Paul Harvey. The article also includes a 1999 text circulated on the Internet that is not written by Paul Harvey.]
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