Paul Harvey – If I Were the Devil

This speech was broadcast by legendary ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965:

If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole
earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not
be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take
over the United States. I would 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.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would
whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way
around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young
marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution
them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I
would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .

If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would
appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the
devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands
usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of
distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine
young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest
to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With
flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor
of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and
then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for
religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super
weapons but not wise enough to control them.

If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were
the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the
incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could
separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In
other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.

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