Paul Harvey was a well-known and respected conservative radio presenter in the United States. In 1965, he made a broadcast in which he predicted, at least in his opinion, the future of the United States. The projections, which he refined over the years until his death in 2009, are shockingly accurate in terms of the country’s present status.
Before delving into Paul Harvey’s statement and determining if it is still relevant today, it is worth noting that he was a conservative Christian. This implies that his beliefs on religion and what is good and wrong may differ from yours. Some of the changes he saw as unfavorable, you may see as beneficial. What is true in either case is that what he wrote in that poem has come true.
It is also worth noting that the most recent version of the broadcast is not identical to the one he presented in 1965. Harvey revised it throughout the years to include more of the themes that he saw as societal challenges.
“If I were the devil… if I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d cover the entire planet in darkness.” And I’d have a third of its land and four-fifths of its inhabitants, but I wouldn’t be satisfied until I’d gotten my hands on the ripest fruit on the tree—you. So I’d go to any length to take over the United States. I’d start with a whispering campaign against the churches. “Do as you wish,” I would say to you with the wisdom of a serpent, just as I did to Eve.
“The Bible is a fable,” I would say to the children. I would persuade them that man created God rather than the other way around. “What’s terrible is good, and what’s good is square,” I’d say. And I would tell the elderly to pray “Our Father, which art in Washington…” after me.
Then I’d organize myself. I’d teach authors how to make gruesome writing fascinating so that everything else appears dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten television with filthy films, and vice versa. I’d sell drugs to everyone who would listen. I’d sell booze to distinguished women and gentlemen. I’d sedate the rest with medicines.
If I were the devil, I’d have families at odds with themselves, churches at odds with themselves, and nations at odds with themselves, until each was burned in turn. And I’d have seductive media feeding the fires with promises of bigger viewership. If I were the devil, I would push schools to develop young intellects while neglecting to discipline emotions, allowing them to run wild until, before you knew it, drug-detecting dogs and metal detectors were required at every classroom door.
Within a decade, I’d have overcrowded jails and judges advocating pornography, and I’d be able to kick God out of the courtroom, the schools, and the Houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would replace religion with psychology and deify science. I would seduce priests and pastors into a-using boys and girls, as well as church funds. If I were the devil, I’d make the Easter sign an egg and the Christmas emblem a bottle.
If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who want until the incentive for the ambitious was gone.
And how much do you think I could persuade entire states to push gambling as a means to make money? In terms of patriotism and moral behavior, I would advise against extremes and hard efforts. I would persuade the young that marriage is outmoded, that swinging is more fun, and that what they see on TV is the way to be. As a result, I may undress you in public and entice you into bed with illnesses that have no cure. To put it another way, if I were the devil, I’d just keep doing what he’s doing. “Paul Harvey, good day.”
Whether you agree with his religious ideas or not, you have to acknowledge that his “Warning to America” is eerily similar to the United States of today. People who believe in religion are in decline and have been for decades. The bulk of schools and their teachings, as well as the government, have long been devoid of the church (more or less). The planned separation of church and state is far clearer today than it was in 1965.
Churches, particularly Catholic ones, have been embroiled in several scandals and are frequently corrupt. People are gambling more, even if it is simply buying weekly lottery tickets. Americans are marrying later in life than ever before, assuming they marry at all. While many people continue to work hard, many others are always looking for ways to get rich and/or famous as rapidly as possible. Nothing is permanent, and nothing is disposable. Finally, sexually transmitted diseases are increasing at frightening rates, and individuals are undoubtedly more sexually liberated than they were previously.