Paul Harvey: If I were the Devil(both versions)

With the Super Bowl Ram truck commercial featuring Paul Harvey’s essay: “So God Made a Farmer” going viral, his essay “If I were the Devil” is also getting a lot of attention(again).

Here is the audio of his last version(1993/1994) of the essay. I follow it with the original text, printed in 1964. It’s fascinating to compare them, and it highlights the phrase “writing is rewriting.”

From Paul Harvey’s newspaper column in 1964:

If I Were the Devil

If I were the Prince of Darkness I would want to engulf the whole earth in darkness.

I’d 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.”

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 married 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 — to say after me — “Our father which art in Washington.”

Then I’d get organized.

I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull, uninteresting.

I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies, and vice-versa.

I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing, less work. Idle hands usually work for me.

I’d peddle 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 would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild.

I’d designate an atheist to front for me before the highest courts and I’d get preachers to say, “She’s right.”

With flattery and promises of power I would get the courts to vote against God and in favor of pornography.

Thus I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, then from the Houses of Congress.

Then in his own churches I’d substitute psychology for religion and deify science.

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’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. Then my police state would force everybody back to work.

Then I would separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines and objectors in slave-labor camps.

If I were Satan I’d just keep doing what I’m doing and the whole world [would] go to hell as sure as the Devil.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Paul Harvey: If I were the Devil(both versions)

  1. It’s interesting that he wrote it in 1964, a time that seems almost idyllic in comparison to today.
    But doesn’t that seem to happen with every generation or two?

    However, there’s no question we’re further down the wrong road than we were 50 years ago.
    However, I’m hopeful, and prayerful, that the traditionalist turn that I’m seeing in seminaries and convents, as well as the youth turnout at pro-life meetings, marches and protests, …is a sign that we are NOT destined to fall into ruin.

    The 60’s kids and their ilk have gotten us to this point.
    If we don’t allow them to finish us off, …we have a chance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s