From 1965: Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil”

For your consideration. This, from the year of closing of the Second Vatican Council.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. wmeyer says:

    A classic from the time when good sense and common sense were widespread. Paul Harvey was under appreciated, and this piece is timeless.

  2. anilwang says:

    Tactically, nearly everything Paul Harvey says is true, but IMO it’s poor strategy. Eventually such tactics cause the following generations to rebel since they have to live with the consequences of the past generation. It’s one reason why so many more youth flock to the pro-life movements and TLM than their parents do.

    IMO, I think Screwtape and “A Brave New World” provide a better strategy, even though tactically this strategy is often a loser. If I were the devil, I’d convince people that there are no eternal consequences (or there’s a low probability of it) and fill people’s lives with so many distractions that they don’t have time to ponder “the big questions” or their impact in our daily lives. It’s better if the distractions corrupt the individual, but even goods such as social justice and evangelization will do, as long as “the big questions” never enter the picture and become idols of worship. It doesn’t matter if the vast number of people barely squeak into Hell and don’t became infamously evil. All that counts is that they get in.

    That’s about it. It’s an old strategy that’s always worked, but it’s particularly effective in this day and age when the average person sees few wonders of God in his daily life (e.g. light pollution hides most stars, greenery and animals are limited if present at all, etc), and sees the world filled with man made wonders that provide us with so much comfort.

  3. donato2 says:

    If I were the Devil, I’d rig the Synod on the Family.

  4. TNCath says:

    The man was a prophet. Unfortunately, he was also a proponent of abortion rights. I am sure he now knows “the rest of the story.”

  5. TheDude05 says:

    I just finished watching the Life is Worth Living episode on freedom from 1954. It made me think of this post, how far what is called entertainment has fallen. I just watched what was a major television program consisting of a Bishop and a chalkboard breaking down the philosophical idea of freedom from a western and communist view only to refute both with truth, that is the Catholic view. I think here is a top rated show that challenged people not only to think but to think rightly, a show that won emmys and went toe to toe with Milton Burl. I think if I were the devil I would reduce entertainment to the point that the masses only consume what is equivalent to baby food rather than a four course refined meal for the mind and the soul. Then I would add poison to the baby food.

  6. adjensen says:

    Except that it’s from 1999, not 1965…

    “If I Were the Devil” by Paul Harvey (Original piece on WND)

  7. markomalley says:


    Paul Harvey has played this commentary a number of different times over the years. Here, for example,is a version authored in 1964.

    Each of the versions varies a little bit (for example, the 1999 WND example you posted is not the same as the audio posted by Fr Z), but they all have one commonality: the secular direction of society is helping us descend into the pit of hell just as surely as if the Devil, himself, were directing our actions.

  8. Mary of Carmel says:

    My jaw just dropped through the floor…
    Did anyone hear it??

    He got it right on target.

  9. NBW says:

    @anilwang: AMEN!!!!!

  10. exNOAAman says:

    I noticed that Fr. Z. (with this post) has made the big national weather tweeters:

    Impressive, I think.

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