Shaya Cohen -


Young and Dumb

When I was younger, I was much more prone to rage and other baser emotions and desires. And things could have very easily been quite different for me. Those brief instants of opportunity or vulnerability … the “why not?” questions that, but for the smallest nudge in one direction would have unalterably changed my life. Joseph was almost seduced by Potiphar’s wife: imagine how that would have changed the rest of the story!

It is common to understand that people might “sow their wild oats” for a time before they settle down. But of course, even sowing wild oats can have consequences, and very real ones. Meatloaf wrote one the greatest rock songs ever on this very topic. Not everyone gets out of “young and stupid” unscathed, and I think everyone is changed in some way by those experiences. 

I think that every generation faces precisely the same challenge in this respect. People want to do what they want, and they want it without long-term consequences. Eve wanted to eat the fruit and not take the blame. Leftists today want to follow their physical desires and never have to have consequential responsibilities to others or even yourself. Jordan Peterson has a fantastic 1 minute clip on this that I cannot recommend highly enough – here.

If following our sexual desires is the most important thing in life, then, like Eve, people don’t want to be held accountable. It is somehow unreasonable to even suggest people plan ahead and use birth control – no, that is not enough! If following your passion is the central goal in life, then abortion becomes sacrosanct. Abortion is not, in the eyes of its practitioners, about killing a life, or even reproductive freedom. For them, it is at the core of a life philosophy that goes all the way back to the forbidden fruit: they do not want there to be consequences for their actions. They do not want there to be any downside risks or damages that result from promiscuity. They want to rewrite the story: Eve gets to eat the fruit, and still carry on living in the Garden, rent-free.

Every generation’s youngsters relive this very same argument anew. As we move from shielded childhood into adulthood (with puberty coming on line in the middle), it is very hard for people to internalize that one does not have to be Spiderman to grasp that great responsibilities come alongside great power. The powers of adulthood are actually superpowers: many adults can create and destroy new life. And even those of us who cannot procreate can create and destroy people merely in the way in which we treat others and use our speech to talk about them. If we put our passions and desires first, then we are not living in the Garden. Instead, we have created hell.

Youngsters in the midst of these life-changing moments make some awfully stupid mistakes. But so did we, and so did many of our peers. And, given how many of my own decisions seemed to run along a knife edge before edging back from the precipice, I am in no position to occupy the moral high ground. “There, but for the grace of G-d.”

But we still have to try to guide others in positive directions, not because we necessarily did things right, but because hindsight has gifted us with the knowledge that what we do with our bodies changes our souls. We know that some paths are better than others, and we should do everything in our power to help younger people to understand that our choices always, always, have consequences.

Comments are welcome!

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