If I Were The Devil

This is a recording of Paul Harvey from a 1965 broadcast that is currently making its way around conservative blogs.  In it Harvey lays out his plan, if he were the devil, for America in order to dismantle it.  I have to say, it’s quite eerie how many of his “predictions” we find present in America today.


  1. If a conservative was the devil he’d do and encourage all the things that conservatives don’t like. Wow. Shocking.

    Or, obvious.

    • you dont find it the least bit interesting that the scenarios Harvey mentioned were not in place at the time of recording? And that all or nearly all are not currently in place?

  2. I find it no more interesting than the Bible saying ‘people in the future won’t believe the Bible’.

    And as I disagree with Harvey’s interpretations on most of what he predicts, and view a great deal of what he doesn’t like as good things, it doesn’t surprise me.

  3. “So you’re saying each “prediction” was visably inevitable in 1965?”

    I’m saying that the world is a better place than it was in 1965. Which, necessarily, means it’s a place a conservative in 1965 wouldn’t like and would imagine as a horrible place.

  4. What does Paul “predict…” the devil would do?

    He’d teach bad = good, good = bad.

    This came true especially so during the Reagan years, where not tending to the needs of the least of these became a celebrated thing, when committing war crimes in the name of peace was accepted, when supporting thugs and killers and terrorists in the name of security was praised.

    What else did Harvey “predict…”?

    That God is in Washington? Who believes that?

    The devil would push drugs? Who supports that, other than drug abusers (left and right). But drugs have been abused forever, so, is that especially “predictive…”?

    Families, churches and nations have always fought internally, there’s nothing new there, sad as that may be.

    He predicted “prisons overflowing” and that is certainly the case, thanks largely to the conservatives’ “war on drugs…”

    I know of no churches (no serious churches) that have deified science or psychology, although some do learn from them (but learning is a good thing, seems to me).

    So, over all, I don’t find this to be especially “predictive,” just pointing out problems that existed then and suggesting that they might get worse.

  5. You asked (you asked “notascientist,” anyway).

    Look, I can do it, too.

    “If I were the devil and wanted to destroy the US, I’d encourage people to be greedier…

    I’d whisper in their ears, ‘make more wars… in fact, go to war against people who aren’t even a threat to you, and do it on the basis that they MIGHT be a threat…’

    I’d trick people into thinking that torture is a good thing, as long as it’s ‘good’ people doing the torture and they’re doing it for the right reasons…

    I’d help churches to be more divisive in their disagreements. I’d encourage them to twist the words of others and not answer questions directly in conversations…”

    Look it up 30 years from now and see if my predictions aren’t proven true and you can acclaim me as a prophet…


  6. In 1965 our nation had at least a cursory knowledge of God. Most revered God publicly. It was unpopular to be profane about spiritual matters. Now people are stumbling all over each other to be the most profane blasphemer without any fear of eternal consequences. This rebellious sentiment has turned them into unreasonable thinkers and obnoxious people. Their haughtiness has made them incapable of seeing Truth. They would rather die in their sins and live eternally in hell than to yield their lives to their Creator.

    I am sure you are aware, John, we are not called to convince them of their eternal plight. We are simply called to tell them the truth. At Judgment time, they will have no excuse.

  7. This broadcast reminds me of Keith Green’s “No One Believes In Me Anymore (Satan’s Boast)”

  8. ?

    People weren’t tempted to imbibe in mind-altering drugs in 1965?

    There was no such thing as divorce, broken families, spousal abuse, poor parenting in 1965?

    People weren’t tempted to watch too much “bad entertainment” in 1965?

    There wasn’t one of his points that was not already happening in the 1960 and before.

    There weren’t too many of his points that were not already a concern in 1860.

    Human problems tend to be pretty consistent. They may change their appearance over time, but I’m pretty sure you could find some ancient Roman texts bemoaning much of the same thing (with the exception of TV and movies – but even then, they would probably complain of the licentiousness nature of theater…), John. People have always bemoaned how bad this up and coming generation is.

    The Jamestown settlers [brought] the plant [cannabis] to Virqinia in 1611 and cultivated it for its fiber. Marihuana was introduced into New England in 1629. From then until after the Civil War, the marihuana plant was a major crop in North America, and played an important role in both colonial and national economic policy…George Washington was growing hemp lin 1765 at mount Vernon… presumably for its fiber, though it has been argued that Washington was also concerned to increase the medicinal or intoxicating potency of his marihuana plants (Brecher, 1972).

    … I do not readily believe that any man, having once tasted the divine luxuries of opium, will afterwards descend to the gross and mortal enjoyments of alcohol. I take it for granted “That those eat now who never ate before, and those who always ate now eat the more.”… What I contemplated in these Confessions was to emblazon the power of opium–not over bodily disease and pain, but over the grander and more shadowy world of dreams. (Thomas DeQuincey, 1822)

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    • its not about the existence of certain behaviors as much as it is their pervasiveness. Perscription medication abuse was not nearly what it is today. The divorce rate was not nearly what it is today. The idea that government ought to play Robin Hood with its citizens money. I could go on, but you don’t get it anyway

  9. Regardless of whether the things mentioned by Harvery were or were not happening in 1965, the fact remains that the things mentioned will only lead to one conclusion. The heart of societies is like the heart of individuals – they will become more and more stubborn toward the truth of sin until the truth of sin swallows them whole, unless there is repentance.

    “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales;…” (Isaiah 40:15)

  10. “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders…. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers…”

    “The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they alone knew everything and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for girls, they are forward, immodest and unwomanly in speech, behaviour and dress.”

    “In the past we have had officers of this department shot and killed by marihuana addicts and we have traced the act of murder directly to the influence of marihuana, with no other motive. We have found from long experience and dealing with this type of criminal that marihuana is probably the most dangerous of all our narcotic drugs.”

  11. Eugene…

    the fact remains that the things mentioned will only lead to one conclusion. The heart of societies is like the heart of individuals – they will become more and more stubborn toward the truth of sin until the truth of sin swallows them whole, unless there is repentance.

    I certainly agree with the need for repentance. That is always a good thing.

    I certainly agree that sin tends to “swallow us whole…” that is, that sinful behavior destroys us, harming us and those around us.

    I agree with avoiding sin.

    I just think that it’s important to remember that “society today is getting worse” has always been a concern people throughout the ages. And there is always some truth to that complaint. But at the same time, societies sometimes get better.

    Yes, divorce rates are increasing and broken families tend to be a bad thing. BUT at the same time, spousal and child abuse is less tolerated and more watched for and that’s a good thing.

    Yes, drugs being used is not generally a good thing.

    But imprisoning and imprisoning our way to a solution has shown itself to be NOT a solution and a bad thing in itself.

    Racism is not tolerated the way it used to be and that’s a good thing.

    Sexism is not tolerated the way it used to be and that’s a good thing.

    Abusing those who are different is not accepted the way that it used to be and that’s a good thing.

    Demonizing “the enemy,” literally making them into monsters (as with the treatment of Germans, Japanese and others throughout history) is not tolerated the way it was and that’s a good thing.

    In societies, things tend to get worse in some ways and better in others. Eventually, there is a pushback against the “bad things” and hopefully they improve.

    Humanity has always had problems with misbehaving. If you read the Bible, you can see how rape, treating people as property, warring, polygamy, concubinism, etc were more tolerated in those cultures than in ours. The thing to do, it seems to me, is to encourage right living without resorting to “Why, when I was a kid, you’d never…” which tends to make us sound just like a cranky old man, rather than helping the situation.

    Just one suggestion.

    Now, gettoffamylawn!

  12. @ Dan,

    Hello Dan,

    You said, “I just think that it’s important to remember that “society today is getting worse” has always been a concern people throughout the ages. And there is always some truth to that complaint. But at the same time, societies sometimes get better.”

    I don’t disagree at all. But still yet, the truth is that a society can only go so far and will only last so long by holding on to certain ungodly beliefs no matter what the other “good” beliefs may be that the culture has; which I believe may have been a large part of John’s point.

    For example in Proverbs 30:11-17 there is a description of a generation that is sitting on the edge of ruin and judgment (vs.17). Are there any generations to which these things cannot be applied to to some extent? Absolutetly not. But the fact is that a generation will come along who refuses to repent, who refuses to believe in an absolute truth, who refuses to take personal accountability, who refuses to acknowledge God and trades Him for spirituality, who refuses to humble itself and this generation will show certain identifiable characteristics that reveal the slippery slope it is on (Romans 1:18-32).

    There are times when a society’s “wells” are outweighed by its “woes” (Isaiah 5:20).

    Is every generation always getting worse? No. But it only takes a generation to take down the rest (again Proverbs 30:11-17) and some of those things that can take down the rest are the very obvious things of our own culture today mentioned by Harvey in his 1965 broadcast that John posted.

    And I was only on your lawn to get my baseball back, sorry.

  13. John Barron Jr, Paul Harvey was not making any prophesies. He was adressing social phenomenons present in his own time. If those phenomenons have truly grown in your society, how do you know it is the work of the devil? If it is, why is your god doing nothing against the Devil? Why does the devil have a free reign over the US?

    Or are the good things Dan Trabue lists the work of your god, or Jesus to counter the devil? It is one thing to observe cultural phenomenons and a completely different thing to give them esoteric meaning.

    In the 14th century Europe older men were very distressed how the fashionable skirts of the young men were gettin too short. They were true conservatives, but no conservative male of today wears skirts, exept maybe the pope.

    Roman conservatives were very offended by the new fashionable religion christianity that ridiculed all the old values and gods. They were so affraid of the new ideas, that they persecuted the christians and killed them in most horrible ways. Were they wrong? When christianity rose to be the sole religion in the Roman empire, the empire fell, did it not? Did those Roman conservatives predict that this would happen and opposed to christianity because of that? At least they did know what threat christianity with its message of peace represented to the Roman military and slave economy. After that Europe plunged into the dark ages.

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