If I Were the Devil

Credit: Linda Lisa

If you’re like me and don’t get out much — in the cyber world or in the real world — then you might not have heard the essay by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey entitled “If I Were the Devil.” Apparently it has been making the rounds again.

I heard the broadcast for the first time on Catholic radio a few months ago and was very intrigued; it’s from 1964 and is quite prophetic.

Since the original broadcast, Paul Harvey periodically updated the text to reflect the constant changes in society. So, if you scour the Internet, you’ll run across this recording in various forms.

The following is the transcript of the original 1964 broadcast:

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.

Below is a video featuring an updated version from c. 1996:


About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

10 responses to “If I Were the Devil

  • farfetchedfriends

    This one truly says is all: If I were the Devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions; let those run wild. I’m simply weary of kids getting away with everything. (I can get away with saying that, I have four.) There’s just no consequences for behavior these days, and it is frustrating.

    Excellent post, Topaz.

    • Topaz

      Thank you! I am grateful that I finally came across this broadcast. It’s like I live under a rock or something!

      As an educator, I see everyday how young people have a false sense of entitlement and their respect for authority is dwindling as well. I agree: It is extremely frustrating — and sad.

  • Atomic Mutant

    If I were the devil, I would simply continue to whisper into Christian ears… That of course their own hate is god’s hate. That love should of course only be given to people you want and not to all of god’s children. That it’s ok to hate people because of a sentence in a book while totally ignoring other sentences in the same book. That the poor are poor because they’re guilty of something and not because you don’t give a shit. That prayer is as good as actually doing something. That woman have fewer rights than man. etc.etc.

    Thus I would continue my very successful campaign of getting many, many Christian souls and drive America deeper into my clutches, while ironically making itself calling “free” and “in god we trust”.

    • Topaz

      Hello and thanks for stopping by!

      After looking through your blog, it seems like you had a bad experience with Christianity. I am sorry about that.

      I will be praying for you!

      • Atomic Mutant

        Wow. What did I say about prayer? Thanks for listening to me, really. It’ s always great to see Christian actually DO something… Just: You don’t. Did it never occur to you to actually do something? To CHANGE things? Honestly, let’s assume your god existed, what would he prefer? You sitting around and begging him to do something – or you going out there and make things better? If you think some Christians are wrong or evil – why don’t you stand up against them? Why don’t you say something? Why do you let them use your silence as justification?

      • Topaz

        Sorry, friend, but this isn’t the place for uncharitable discourse. There are plenty of blogs out there that would welcome it, however.

        I appreciate your reading my blog!

  • Pilgrim Jet

    Handling it very well dear Bro! 🙂 by the way, i’m sharing this post to my family and friends.

  • olgatodd

    Thank you for stopping by!

    Have a great day 🙂

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