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Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal and Family Values

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Aya Katz has a PhD in linguistics from Rice University. She is an ape language researcher and the author of Vacuum County and other novels.

I am neither liberal nor a conservative. There are things about the liberal platform that I find abhorrent. There are things about the conservative agenda that make me shudder. A friend of mine, who happens to be pagan (but who otherwise harbors conservative views) and I were talking about politics and how difficult it is to have a civilized discussion with a liberal. They don't fight fair. They hit below the belt. They make everything personal. It was she who was saying all this, and I had to agree. By and large, and with a few notable exceptions, her characterization of liberals was accurate. But then I mentioned that I don't understand conservatives, either, and that sometimes they give me the creeps. Yes, by and large they are more courteous, considerate and even chivalrous. But behind all of that chivalry, I see an agenda that might take us right back to the middle ages.

My friend disagreed. "Look," she said. "Liberals want to take things from people. They want to take our money. They want to tell us what kind of insurance we can have. They want to tell us how to discipline our children. They want to butt in everywhere. All the conservatives want is to have a few religious symbols in public places. What harm can that do? I mean, so they want to put a cross up on a war memorial. Who gets hurt? So what if they put the ten commandments up somewhere. How can anybody object to the ten commandments?"

I laughed. "Have you read the ten commandments? Do you know what the first one is?"

She didn't seem to know, so I said: "Thou shalt have no other god besides me."

"Oh, okay. But so what...?"

My friend is a pagan, but she's still in the closet. She feels no need to shout her beliefs from the mountain. For that matter, neither do I. But I do feel the conservative right harbors a deep, dark destructive agenda. It's just very hard to explain it to somebody who is content to give up free speech in return for the right to make a living.

It is hard to explain to someone who feels no need to speak out, why you might be afraid of what could happen if you do. I've mentioned to liberal friends that freedom of speech without economic freedom cannot exist. But when I tell conservative friends that I sometimes feel compelled to remain silent, because I am afraid of what may happen to me and my family if I do speak up, they look at me in astonishment. "What could you possibly have to say that would upset people? After all, you're a good person." Would they still think I was a good person if I spoke up?

It is so hard to explain what I find disturbing about governmental support for the ten commandments. For the average churchgoing American, there seems nothing at all wrong with it. But even the average non-churchgoer probably says to himself: "I've never stolen or committed murder, nor have I ever coveted my neighbor's ox or his ass, or his maid-servant or his man-servant, so how can the ten commandments cause me any harm?" If my friend can't understand it, what hope is there of explaining it to anybody else?

After we hung up, I wondered what I could have said to articulate my concerns about the religious right. I was at a loss. I was thinking of James Watkins' hub about the sexual revolution and how great it was in the good old days when men slept with bad girls but married good ones. And then I thought about Patricia Neal. Was Patricia Neal a good girl or a bad girl, I wondered?

Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper

Patricia Neal and Gary Cooper became acquainted on the set of The Fountainhead. They had met before, but this was where they got to know each other. She was 22 and he was 47. They fell madly in love while filming the steamy love scenes. You might say that it was Ayn Rand who brought them together.

In her autobiography, Neal describes it like this: "As the film progressed, my work with Gary gradually became the medium of our relationship...Lines in the film became pregnant with meaning for us. Howard and Dominique said and did the things we could not yet express. In one scene... Dominique sits at Roark's feet with her head in his lap. We were in that position for what seemed like hours. ...Our stand-ins received their pay, but did not work that day. ...'It would have to come because there is nothing else that really matters' is a line from that scene. I never thought a line from a film could be so true. That same line ends with, 'I love you without dignity and without regret.''

Movie Poster with Caption: "Nobody takes what's mine!"

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

On the set of The Fountainhead,  all the romantic dialogue was written by Ayn Rand. Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal did not speak any lines of their own to each other.  "We never talked. We just looked into each others eyes and knew."

Nothing had happened during production, but everyone on the set knew.  The night production closed was the night the affair began. The words they spoke to one another were not romantic, but practical.

"May I drive you home?"

"No. I have my own car. But you can follow me." (Patricia Neal, As I Am, Simon & Schuster, 1988, p. 101.)


King Vidor, Ayn Rand and Gary Cooper on the set of The Fountainhead

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Image Credit:

Gary Cooper in High Noon

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Biographical information on Neal and Cooper

Not Getting to Reap What We Sow

The affair lasted for two years and produced one pregnancy. Patricia Neal was at first "so thrilled ... that for a short while [she] forgot there would be any question of whether or not this baby would be born." Gary Cooper seemed happy about it, too.

But then the social reality in which they lived hit them. Gary Cooper was married. His wife would never give him a divorce. In 1950, a Hollywood starlet could not give birth outside wedlock and not be denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as the most evil woman in America. She could not have her baby, without losing her career. If anybody found out that it was Gary Cooper's baby, his career would be over, too.

Gary Cooper, straight shooter that he was, arranged for Patricia Neal to have an abortion.

"'There's a doctor in downtown Los Angeles," he said. 'I suppose we have to, Pat. Our appointment is tomorrow.'"

Cooper accompanied her to the clinic. Afterwards, they wept. The bleeding continued for five weeks. Patricia Neal would regret this choice for the rest of her life. She had wanted that baby, and thirty years later, she still wanted it, with all her soul.

It's because of stories such as these that I am offended by having the ten commandments plastered on public buildings. But what do the ten commandments have to do with Patricia Neal's first pregnancy? Nothing really. It's not what the ten commandments actually say. It's how they are interpreted.

Was it cowardly of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal to avoid the fate that Ingrid Bergman accepted? Should they have both accepted banishment from Hollywood rather than sacrificing their unborn child at the altar of middle class morality?

Maybe. But until you have walked in someone else's shoes, you don't really know what you would have done if faced with a similar test. Ingrid Bergman was Swedish. Roberto Rossellini was Italian. When they were banished from Hollywood, they had someplace else to go. But Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal were hopelessly and unabashedly American. They were stuck in America in the fifties, family values, hypocrisy and all that came with it.

They say that we reap what we sow. Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal sowed life. But they were not brave enough to reap it.

Keep in mind that abortion was not legal at the time. But not being legal did not prevent it from being readily available. In a more tolerant atmosphere, where neither abortion nor out of wedlock pregnancies are frowned upon, Patricia Neal would not have felt compelled to sacrifice her unborn child.

Women have been getting abortions since the middle ages. In most cases, the fetus was aborted because the society in which the woman lived frowned upon the way the child was conceived and considered its very existence "illegitmate." Women do not get abortions because they don't want to have a child. They get abortions because they are afraid of what people will do to them if they have it.

Did Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal violate any of the ten commandments when they conceived their ill-fated child? Well, not if you read the ten commandments as written and interpret them in the context of the society in which they were originally propounded. One was not to covet a neighbor's wife. But Patricia Neal was not married. There is nothing in the ten commandments to prohibit Gary Cooper from taking Patricia Neal as his wife or concubine, in addition to his current wife. He might have needed to secure her father's permission by offering a bride-price of a few goats, but since at the time Patricia Neal's father was no longer alive, even that seems unnecessary.

But all this is beside the point, because each modern day religious sect interprets the ten commandments according to its own understanding and in the context of the way marriage is defined in that society.People cannot agree on how they are to be numbered, much less what they actually mean.

In a country where there is separation of church and state, there can be as many different beliefs as there are people, and nobody is harmed. But enforcing the beliefs of some on others is what leads to the death of unborn babies.

The Ten Commandments

The Text of the Ten Commandments

Biographical Information about Roald Dahls

Roald Dahl and the Beautiful Children

The affair with Gary Cooper did not last much longer. He eventually told his wife about the abortion, and he ended it with Patricia Neal. Neal never fell out of love with him. But she did her best to pick up the pieces of her life and live again.

Patricia Neal met Roald a party. At six foot six he was hard to miss. She was attracted to him, and they started dating, but though there was a lot of chemistry between them, she was not in love.

Patricia Neal writes: "One day Roald decided to show me his flat... ...Roald's place was very simple, not at all grand. A writer's apartment, except it had no desk. Roald had invented his own writing board covered in green felt, which he put on his lap as a writing surface. I looked around the room to see if it had been tidied up for my visit. It had not. My glance went to a framed photograph of three children, the most beautiful children I had ever seen. They were Roald's twin nieces, Louise and Anna, and their brother Nicky. 'My God, you make beautiful babies,' I blurted out. "I mean, your family does." ... We stood for a long moment appreciating those lovely little faces. Then Roald kissed me for the first time. I wish I could say I remember feeling a thrill. But my interest was elsewhere. I simply could not get those beautiful children out of my mind." (As I Am, 1988, Simon & Schuster, p. 160)

Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal: Going Out

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Image Credit:

When Roald Dahl first proposed to Patricia Neal, she turned him down flat.

"He looked horrified that I had turned him down. It's simple, I thought to myself. I really don't love him and I don't want to get married. But then that was not entirely true. I did want marriage. And a family. Roald would have beautiful children. What was I holding out for? A great love? That would never come again. When was I going to face reality?" (Patricia Neal, As I Am, Simon & Schuster, 1988, p. 162.)

She writes about it with a sharp sense of humor and a remarkable candor: "I never chose a man for an ulterior motive except the one I married."

Some people say that the purpose of marriage is to produce and rear children. If that is the case, then Patricia Neal married Roald Dahl for exactly the right reasons. However, in her heart of hearts, she did not feel that it was right. It felt wrong.

Patricia Neal and Roald Dahl: The Doting Wife

Image Credit: The Wikipedia

Image Credit: The Wikipedia

Roald Dahl's Idea of What Makes a Man Attracted to a Woman

Roald Dahl and Natural Selection

The marriage to Roald Dahl lasted for thirty years and produced five children. Roald Dahl needed those children as much as Patricia Neal needed to have a family, and perhaps more so. He was a writer who made his mark by writing for children. His modus operandi was to tell the children a bedtime story, then retire to his hut to write it down.

Roald Dahl was an intellectual giant with a wicked sense of humor whose adult books gave a similar treatment to sex as his books for younger audiences gave to candy. In the novel My Uncle Oswald he had chocolate truffles doused with an aphrodisiac used to exact unwilling sperm donations from famous men, later to be used for an exclusive sperm bank. Dahl was interested in eugenics, and he was painfully aware that Patricia Neal had chosen him because of his value as a breeder. He knew that her heart would always belong to Gary Cooper.


The Neal/Dahl marriage was marked with tragedy. Their eldest daughter, Olivia Twenty, died of the measles. Their son Theo was hit by a car in New York City, and Roald Dahl helped to design the shunt that kept the water off his brain following the accident. Patricia Neal, while pregnant at 39, suffered a massive stroke, and it was Dahl who nursed her back to health. He was a relentless taskmaster, and it was his unwillingness to accept less than a full recovery that helped her pull through.

Did they love each other? Of course, they did. She doted on him. He adored her. They pulled together during hard times. They brought children into the world and saw them grow. They worked at their marriage, and when they hit tough spots, they worked on it some more. They were not slackers. They took their marriage very seriously. They laughed together and cried together and grew and changed for thirty years.

And then one day Roald Dahl informed Patricia Neal that he wanted a divorce. He was in love with someone else. Somebody named Felicity.

Theo, Lucy and Ophelia Dahl in Norway

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Photo Credit:

What Might Have Been

Patricia Neal writes: "I knew before Felcity came into our lives that the only time Roald and I were close was in a time of crisis. But I truly did not realize that my marriage could, in fact, end." (p. 353).

She had never been unfaithful to Roald Dahl in all the years of her marriage. And she had never stopped being in love with Gary Cooper.

Was it worth it? The Neal/Dahl progeny who are still with us point to a solid yes. But... what about Patricia Neal's unborn child by Gary Cooper? If Neal had decided to have that baby, would she ever have married Roald Dahl? Would the Dahl children ever have been born?

If Patricia Neal had conceived that baby during a more tolerant time, it might have lived. If she had wanted to have children by a magnificent specimen of a man like Roald Dahl without marrying him, she might have made a withdrawal from the local sperm bank. I think Roald Dahl himself would have approved.

But the moral majority and the conservative right do not want to allow such things. They want us all living in a world that is not safe for babies born out of wedlock, a world where men and women like Patricia Neal, Gary Cooper and Roald Dahl find themselves trapped forever in loveless marriages, and the only children who stand a chance are the ones whose existence is sanctioned by such marriages.

(c) 2009 Aya Katz

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Roald Dahl

Patricia Neal's Progeny

Roald Dahl's Inventions


Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on June 29, 2012:

They should never have put themselves in that position? They should never have put the child they made in that position? What are you saying?

Blimey, if they hadn't committed adultery (by modern, though not by ancient definitions, of that sin) in the first place, that particular child, the one who was killed to appease to middle class morality, would never have existed. Have you thought of that?

Are you mourning the death of that chlld, or are you sad that it never got to exist? Because it's not the same thing.

Blimey on June 29, 2012:

They were adults who should never have put themselves and others into that position. His wife and his and her unborn child paid the price. I think this is the ultimate selfishness. A child dies so that their affair won't be discover. "Thou shalt not kill". You can twist and turn the laws to suit yourself but in the end you will pay for what you do against the God who gave you life. I have a feeling they are doing just that.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on March 04, 2012:

R, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Many traditional values are useful, and I applaud people who live by them according to their own choice. My point was that trying to impose those values from without usually has consequences that are quite at odds with those values.

R on March 03, 2012:

I would add that I agree with Aya about one thing, at least in part. At the time we were considered a christian nation, and the general attitude was one of judgement over the immoral. This even though Jesus himself loved and ministered to them. They were the people he came to save. The condemnation heaped on such a child was wrong. We should treat the unwed mother and her child in the same way. That is not to say that we accept what was done as OK. Most unwed mothers today suffer emotionally and economically, a consequence of our society'lowered morals, not of the religious. Today many churches are full of broken people who are loved and cared for by the congregation. And love changes hearts.

R. on March 03, 2012:

I really don't get what is so confusing to the writer about "You shall not murder. This is in the Ten commandments. Furthermore, she presumes to know the motives of all women who choose to kill their unborn. My wife and I made the decision long ago, before we were married, to abort our child, and it was cowardly. We Identify with Neil and Cooper's sorrow and regret, but we don't try to justify their actions, or ours it by blaming our decision on society norms or the religious right. Rather, we turn to God with repentant hearts and vow to speak out against abortion, knowing first hand how devastating it is to the child, parents, and to every family member.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on February 18, 2012:

Zelda, thanks for posting the link.

Zelda on February 18, 2012:

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on September 03, 2011:

Realist, where in the Bible does it say don't kill your own baby? There are many, many provisions for what will happen to you if you dare to kill someone else's baby, but if you kill your own, it is considered a sacrifice.

Do you know why that is? Because in the Bible, the natural assumption that parents will protect their children still holds, and they have to be induced by overpowering external forces to part with their children.

It's only in a twisted society that people from the outside feel they have to intervene to save a child from its own mother.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on February 13, 2011:

Norma, who was blaming God here? Surely, you're not suggesting that blaming people who are religiously intolerant is the same thing as blaming God? If you disapprove of a union between a man and a woman, do you think that God automatically disapproves, too? If you think that children born out of wedlock are "illegitimate", do you ascribe this belief to God?

Norma on February 12, 2011:

Quite a stretch to blame God for their poor decisions because he gave man the law. Also, probably thousands of unplanned babies were born in the 40s and 50s and not aborted because their parents chose not to kill them and accept the consequences. There are still consequences today.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on October 04, 2010:

Helen, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Helen on October 04, 2010:

It is the liberal agenda that has and is still destroying this nation. People should understand that our American heritage is based on the Ten Commandments and the Bible. By taking God out of our schools and government it is weakening our nation. God is withdrawing His hand of protection and His blessings because we have told Him that we don't need Him anymore. We have made ourselves gods, therefore breaking that first commandent. "Blessed is the nation whos God is the Lord" -Psalm 33:12

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on October 02, 2010:

Margie, thanks for your comment and for sharing your thoughts. I may very well be wrong about the details of the Cooper/Neal affair, as after all I wasn't there. Only they could know what happened for sure. I was going by Patricia Neal's autobiography AS I AM. What are you going by? Do you have some inside information?

Even if I am wrong about the particulars, the fact remains that Patricia Neal, by her own admission, loved Gary Cooper all her life. He was her first choice. Even by the facts as you describe them, if Cooper had left his wife for her, they would have ended up together. Isn't that what really matters in the end?

margie on October 02, 2010:

You are dead wrong about a lot of things, not the least of which is who ended the Cooper-Neal affair. She ended it after finally deciding that he was not going to leave his wife. He was still undecided and after she left him, he returned to his wife.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 18, 2010:

Irishgalartist, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you have a happy married life, and that is certainly something to be thankful for. I also appreciate your honesty about the lives of others, and your awareness that things don't always work out that way for other people. There is a world of difference between supporting family values -- in your own life and that of your family -- and enforcing family values against others.

The law should be neutral, so that individuals and families can find their own way of managing under their particular circumstances.

irishgalartist on August 18, 2010:

I think the traditional family is the most ideal. That being said, I know it doesn't always work out. We are flawed human beings & things happen. I don't think it's fair to say the family values crowd would have her getting an abortion. I think a relationship with an already married man was not ideal, but that doesn't mean the baby should die. That may have been the thinking in the 50's, but that's no longer the case. I think having ideals to aspire to is a good thing, wether it'sa the traditional family or the Ten Commandments. That is not without a profound understanding that all humans are flawed imperfect people. I have been very happily married for 27 years, and I have not had any affairs and don't plan on it. What is wrong with that. I don't villify what others do, I expend more energy on my own personal responsibility. I find trying to run my own life to be hard enough, let alone trying to run anyone else's life. I never think a baby is illegitimate, all are created by God. If they enter the world in difficult circumstances, then people just need to rally together to make raising them work. But that doesn't mean that we can't still see a traditional family as being an ideal. I know I am very happy to have my family and I am blessed to love my husband. I don't think supporting family values equates to not accepting other circumstances.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 12, 2010:

Always4Life, what do you base your statistics on? It really seems to me that abortion as a form of birth control is a thing of the past. Even liberals don't speak out that loudly in favor of it, anymore.

But statistics aside, I know of at least one baby who would have lived if not for the stigma of illegitimacy: Patricia Neal's unborn baby. The other cases were not as famous, but they undoubtedly existed, too. If you believe that every life is precious, then the statistics don't matter.

always4life on August 12, 2010:

Aya, your argument is false. There are more abortions today than in 1950 and a very high acceptance of out of wedlock births. If your argument was valid we would have less abortions now than in 1950.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 11, 2010:

Georgia, thanks for sharing your experience and your values. Tolerance is not about espousing a particular set of values. Tolerance is about realizing that not everyone shares the same values. When Patricia Neal chose to abort her pregnancy, there was zero tolerance for illegitimate babies. They could only be legitimized by being given away to someone who was married. It was this air of intolerance that drove Patricia Neal to seek an abortion, which though illegal at the time, was always readily available.

I am glad you are able to make a different choice. I hope that you have a beautiful, healthy baby, and I hope you will have the chance to raise it yourself, whether you are married or not.

georgia on August 11, 2010:

in a more 'tolerant' world? Our world today is just as, if not more intolerant as it was in Ms. Neal's days. We tolerated morality back then, and today we are intolerant of it. We tolerated family values, & today we are intolerant. We tolerated commitment, and today we are intolerant if it. We tolerated children, and today--we are intolerant of children. We tolerated dressing classy, & today, we tolerate classless dress. Hmmm... something is wrong here. As for abortion... well, we didn't tolerate that either, and now, it's readily available to anyone seeking a solution to their "problem".... when we view the baby as being a "problem" or, dare I say, as Barack Obama said, a "punishment".... would you honestly conclude our society is better off today than it was yesterday? I think not, but, that's just my measly conservative opinion. I am a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. I thought about killing the person growing inside of me. Thankfully, I chose not to. What people fail to realize is that when a woman considers abortion, it's not because she feels "FREE to CHOOSE"... she does it because she feels she has "NO CHOICE." Consequently, she feels she gets 'rid' of the problem facing her...failing to realize (at the time) that she will always be a mother---a mother to a dead baby she decided to kill. It will haunt her the rest of her life, like it did Ms. Neal, who said, "if I had one thing to do over in my life, I would've had that baby."

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 09, 2010:

cs, besides all that, if you read the Bible carefully, you will see that in the context of that society, adultery meant a man taking another's man wife, but it did not apply to a married man taking a concubine.

The point of the matter is that under O.T. morals, Patricia Neal could have kept her baby -- a baby she very much wanted to have. She and her baby could have been seen with Gary Cooper openly. It didn't have to be a deep, dark secret. It's the new interpretation of these old rules that led to an unborn baby's death.

I'm not saying that you have to change your beliefs about what is right as it applies to your own life. I'm just saying that the legal system should be neutral on these issues.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 09, 2010:

The story of Yiftach's daughter is in Judges 11.

The Old Testament has many injunctions for children to respect their elders, but no injunctions for parents to preserve their children.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 09, 2010:

The citation for the idea that killing a fetus only merits money damages is Exodus 21:22:

Translated: "And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine."

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on August 09, 2010:

Actually, you might read all of the laws in Exodus. There is a provision for what happens if a man harms another man's wife and she miscarries. The damages are monetary, but it is not considered murder. And the right of the parents to collect is based on the fact that it was their baby and presumably they wanted it. Nowhere does it talk about punishing someone for killing their unborn child, and in fact it was assumed that parents had the right to sacrifice their born children as well, and even that was not considered murder. Read about Yiftach's daughter.

cs on August 08, 2010:

I'm sorry, this is nuts. Murder is against the ten commandments as is adultery. If people stuck to the ten commandments tragedies like these would be non existent. THAT'S WHY GOD GAVE THEM TO US!!! So we would know the way to happiness and avoid unhappiness in our lives.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 26, 2009:

Mortgagestar1, then I guess we all agree!

Mortgagestar1 from Weirton,West Virginia on December 26, 2009:

No, I was agreeing with you Sweetiepie!

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 22, 2009:

SweetiePie, that's what I thought! Must have been a misunderstanding. ;->

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 22, 2009:

No it was tksensei. I am not even sure why Mortgagestar1 thought I was referring to him because I do never talked to him here on Hubpages.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 22, 2009:

Mortgagestar1, surely you're not the person Sweetie Pie mentioned.

Mortgagestar1 from Weirton,West Virginia on December 22, 2009:

SweetiePie, it is sad we can't agree to disagree!

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 20, 2009:

SweetiePie, fortunately people of every political persuasion can recognize those among us who are just troublemakers. I think that's what helps places like Hubpages function like communities, where not everybody has to agree with everybody else about everything, but we can still respect and even like each other.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 20, 2009:

No I think he is just a troublemaker. You are right about that.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 20, 2009:

SweetiePie, I'm sorry to hear that Lita was banned. Although we seldom agree, she has always behaved decently toward me. I think I know what person you mean. I don't really understand his particular point of view or bias. I once made a perfectly factual statement about banking practices in Taiwan and he accused me of a cultural prejudice. So, yes, I agree with your assessment of him. But I'm not sure whether he's a conservative or not -- his opinions don't fit into any recognizable pattern for me. ;->

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 20, 2009:

My good friend Lita was banned from the forum because we have one character who loves to attack people. This same person said you should not own a chimp. I am not sure if you are familiar with TK, but the moment anyone says anything remotely moderate or liberal politically he will follow them around. He is also known for attacking other hubbers for no reason, even on issues that have nothing to do with politics.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on December 20, 2009:

SweetiePie, thanks for your comment. You are right that a blanket statement that liberals are less genteel than conservatives is bound to be false. It is an over-generalization, and yes, I have met some very considerate liberals, too. What I was giving voice to was a statistical observation. Here on Hubpages, when debating economic issues, I've met a number of people who didn't fight fair and who ended up alienating me. (Because I tend to side with conservatives on economic matters, these clashes were with liberals.)

I have noticed, though, that there is a trend for liberals to use "moral indignation" as a tactic in debates, whereas conservatives have adopted the more low-key, reasonable person approach. This says nothing about who is right about any given issue. I just prefer to debate with people who don't hit below the belt. However, I'm sure that there are some pretty nutty conservatives out there, too, especially on the religion forums.

These days, I try to stay out of the political and religious forums, as I don't think I'm sufficiently thick skinned for it.

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on December 20, 2009:

Many conservatives are also guilty of not fighting fair. Just to share, but there is one particular person on the forum that will follow everyone around that is moderate, or liberal. I know that I never make things personal, and maybe I am biased, but most liberals I have met are less personal than the conservatives. There is nothing wrong with being liberal either, but that is my personal opinion. In general I have met many more moderates and liberals that were generous and kind. I know there are many kind conservatives, I even talked with one I highly disagreed with, but it is a generalization to declare one side more genteel than the other.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on November 16, 2009:

Wannabewestern, thanks! It's this kind of comment that makes it all worthwhile! Of course, I agree that the generalizations about liberals and conservatives are just generalizations. In fact, I have been pegged as belonging to either category myself, by people who saw only one side of me. This can happen to anyone.

Carolyn Augustine from Iowa on November 16, 2009:

Such eloquently expressed viewpoints here. I don't agree with all of them, since after all, conservative and liberal are just labels and I think there are as many kind of each as there are Mormons (or Christians, or even Pagans). But I did love the story of Patricia Neal and how you tied in her choices to sociobiology. As other Hubbers have said, there's much to think about here and I admire you for speaking out your beliefs and opening a civilized dialogue. I love reading your writing and am looking forward with relish to reading more.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on November 12, 2009:

Storytellersrus, thanks! If only we could get both conservatives and liberals to see that there are good people who do not necessarily subscribe to all their values, and that morality is a very personal thing! How much suffering could be avoided!

Shalini, thanks! I'm not usually that interested in the love lives of movie stars, but because I am a fan of The Fountainhead, I paid attention to this particular saga. I think that ethics are a personal thing, not much different from religion. I don't think there is such a thing as a "rational code of ethics" that fits everyone. When we try to impose our ethics on someone else in areas that do not really concern us, we are bound to cause more harm than good.

Shalini Kagal from India on November 11, 2009:

I loved Fountainhead and had no clue of their real life romance. Very thought provoking hub, Aya. Should religion impinge on everyday ethics or should it just be a guide, not a stranglehold?

Barbara from Stepping past clutter on November 11, 2009:

Fascinating. I did not know any of this about Neal or Cooper or Dahl. And I had to laugh at your analysis of liberals. I have a conservative friend who was so shocked when the Governor of South Carolina "hiked the Appalachian Trail." "I can't believe it," she said. "I thought only Democrats were that crass." I could not believe how crass she was, lol- narrow minded, etc. I am an independent, too, and comments like these shock the heck out of my sensibilities. Great hub, anyway. Lots to consider here.

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on November 11, 2009:

Jerilee, thanks so much for this thoughtful comment!

I think that not everybody has to speak out on every issue, and that some people are more vulnerable to consequences than others. I think that we can each contribute to the political process in different ways, and I'm very, very glad there is such a thing as a secret ballot!

On the love issue, so many people are still so confused, and many, until they've been there themselves, assume that all problems can be solved by hard work.

Love your characterization of both liberals and conservatives! Hard headed! I would never have thought to say this myself, but it fits!

Jerilee Wei from United States on November 11, 2009:

Ran through a lot of different emotions and thoughts in reading this fine hub. I remember being shocked at what Patricia O'Neil went through with the stroke. Seems to me that life changing medical event also included her being in a coma for awhile, maybe not.

I also thought about your comment on why some feel no need to speak out and what fears they may have. For my own self, it's not about feeling no need to speak out publically, but it coming secondary to my writing goals? I think, but could be wrong, it's not so much fear as a choice to take an easier path or maybe more precisely a back door path to getting what I believe across to people that are closed minded and rigid in their beliefs?

Then, there is being somewhat of a Pollyanna, of the generation who were raised to "not say anything if you can't say something nice," there's a struggle. Certainly that plays a role for me personally.

When it comes to controversial subjects, like politics, religion, abortion, etc. all those years of working on Capitol Hill left me feeling that the America that was once spoke of in awe and admiration, went away a long time ago -- and it's just all so hopeless now and so corrupt -- that it's a waste of time trying to change what will be. Am probably wrong for thinking that way.

Wide range of thoughts and emotions here on the romantic level of the love angle or triangle of these very real people. Been cheated on; been the other woman; even married the cheater defying the odds; know what it is to love and respect one man and be his wife, while still and forever being hopelessly in love with the "one true love" --add saw my marriage end without seeing it coming not once but twice -- and I never ever have to watch a soap opera because I once foolishly lived a real life one -- all come to mind.

What such circumstances does to children, that's what bothers me the most. Two people I love the most were born out of wedlock and how that was handled in each case, I'm deeply afraid will make them wounded doves forever.

As a postscript, lest I'm writing a mini hub instead of a comment I don't understand liberals or conservatives, but two words come to mind with both -- hard headed. LOL

Aya Katz (author) from The Ozarks on November 10, 2009:

Nets, that does not necessarily follow. She didn't write the script, did she?

nhkatz from Bloomington, Indiana on November 10, 2009:

If Patricia Neal's parents hadn't had her, we might not have had "The Day the Earth Stood Still",

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