J.P. McEvoy, the Roving Editor of Reader's Digest and creator of the comic strip "Dixie Dugan," describes his beliefs that prayer is a two-way communication with God, that philosophers haven't yet worked all the mysteries of the universe, that opportunities should be equal for all with rewards based on achievement, that individuals should live for liberty at home as well as die for it abroad, that... read more
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. J. P. McEvoy is a literary virtuoso. He has written five novels, several books of short stories, ten Broadway productions, including three editions of his musical revue Americana. He has worked for Hollywood studios, has written radio serials, and incidentally is the creator of the comic strip Dixie Dugan. Since 1942, his chief occupation is to keep traveling as the roving editor of Reader's Digest. Here now is J. P. McEvoy.
I believe in work. When God told Adam: "In the sweat of thy brow
shalt thou eat thy bread," He wasn't fooling.
I believe in prayer. Not as a dog is taught to sit up and beg for a bone, but as a respectful effort to make contact with a Superior Being-and a two-way communication, if possible. I do not believe that prayer is dialing "Information" for God when you are in trouble, or calling "Operator" to complain about the service.
I believe with Hamlet there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy. So it doesn't bother me any more that philosophers
disagree with each other-because I reserve the right to disagree with them. I know they are smarter than I am, but I console myself with the thought that none of them has come back from the Other Side with the Answers.
I believe in Democracy-when that means equal opportunities for all-but I believe just as steadfastly in the aristocracy of intelligence, taste and character. I believe there will always be leaders and those who yearn to be led; burden-bearers and free-riders. Since there will always be more of
the latter than the former I don't believe that wisdom is a monopoly of the majority. Leaders, too, can be right-history proves it-and we shouldn't be beastly to them, unless they lead us in the wrong direction.
I believe in Liberty-not just something precious to die for in far-off places, but something equally precious to live for at home. Many brave men have fought abroad to preserve liberty, only to come home and find it nibbled away by ducks: officious bureaucrats, bullying bosses, nosey neighbors, nagging wives, interfering in-laws.
I believe we have been bewitched into believing that committees, organizations, clubs, campaigns and drives will solve our problems. I believe if householders plant vegetables in their back yards and flowers in front all neighborhoods will be lovely and there will be no need for garden clubs. Likewise, parents must train and discipline their own children and not abdicate responsibility to the schools, police and juvenile judges.
The late W. C. Fields, explaining his raffish approach to life, told me: "Lots of people believe in
Reincarnation. They think they are coming back here-but I know I'm going through here only once."
I wonder! We have been solemnly warned-the sins of the fathers are visited on their children. In short, you can't get away with it. The Hindus call this Karma. They believe we are doomed to keep coming back here in one form or another until we have paid all our debts in full; righted all the wrongs we have committed; made complete restitution. Call it Karma, the Sins of the Fathers, or the Last judgment: it gives one pause!
I believe so long as we thrill to the words of Homer, the art of Michelangelo, the music of Beethoven, these great spirits will be immortal. So long as any of us remember the inspiration of our fathers and mothers, they, too, will never die. And we in turn may achieve such immortality.
Finally, I believe if you have the choice it is better to be kind than to be clever. I believe Epictetus: "Lead the good life and habit will make it pleasant." And I believe Virgil: "Happy is he who can search out the cause of things, for thereby he masters all fear, and is throned above Fate."
Those were the personal beliefs of J. P. McEvoy. And here's news: a brand new This I Believe book with 100 new beliefs now at your bookstore. Of these 100 new beliefs, 80 are from living men and women, 20 are immortals, chosen from all history to get the beliefs of most interest and help to you. Volume One of This I Believe was second in sales only to the Bible. Why? Because it interested and helped hundreds of thousands. This new book has more interest, more help. For yourself and for a gift, get Volume Two, This I Believe.