Prolific commenter Steve-O-In-NJ brought this, his inspiration, to the attention of Ethics Alarms. I collect codes of conduct and creeds, and this is a revealing one. What is interesting about his “The Nine Principles of Italian-Americanism” is that it substantially tracks with most such codes, like the Six Pillars of Character, except that the groupings are different, and there are some values that many wouldn’t consider exactly ethical.
For example, the first principle, which usually means that it has the highest priority, is pride. Pride isn’t right or wrong necessarily, but it is usually marked as an impediment to ethics, a seed of bigotry, and nearly the opposite of humility, which is included in the Six Pillars.
The list turns up on the Facebook page of the Angelo Roncalli Lodge Order Sons Of Italy of America, a community organization (Pop Quiz: Who was Angelo Roncalli? He’s world famous, but not by that name.) This was Steve’s introduction:
I thought this up. My thought is that if African-Americans can have the Seven Principles of Blackness, then we Italian-Americans can have our own code of principles too. I picked nine because it should be a number divisible by three for the three colors of the Italian Flag. Six was too few, twelve would be too many. Maybe it’s just a lot of self-important rhetoric, and if so, feel free to ignore it.
With that introduction, here are the “The Nine Principles of Italian-Americanism”:
Pride (il Vanto) – To take pride in ourselves, our history, our achievements, our families, and all the things that make us who we are. To also respect those things by taking good care of them and never acting in a way that will shame them.
Honor (l’Onore) – To always behave in an honorable manner. To defer to those above us, respect our peers and equals, and not abuse those below us. To keep our vows and promises, obey the rules of society, and never break a confidence or a trust.
Remembrance (la Rimembranza) – To always remember who we are, where we came from, how we got here, what we bring with us, what we had to leave behind, the struggles and sacrifices of that journey, and the reasons for all of these.
Skill (le Abilità) – To develop what skills and talents we are blessed with the best we can and to use those skills and talents to leave the community, the nation, and the world better places than they were when we arrived.
Persistence (la Persistenza) – To work diligently at the tasks we are assigned and the goals we set until we see them through to a successful conclusion. To do whatever is necessary to get past whatever obstacles life places in our path.
Practicality (la Praticità) – To use our skills and resources wisely to accomplish what we need to, on our own if we can, with others if we must. To develop the wisdom to know when we need to ask for help or guidance, the humility to do so, and the gratitude for when it is given. To also develop the wisdom to know when an enterprise is going to fail, and to stop before we waste our resources.
Prosperity (la Prosperità) – To live life to the fullest, to enjoy the fruits of our work and our achievements, and never to be ashamed of doing so, with the understanding that we not do so to excess.
Faith (la Fede) – To believe with all our hearts, minds, and souls in ourselves and what we stand for, but also in Christ, in the Father who sent Him, in the saints who show us the way, in the Holy Father, in the Holy See, and in Holy Mother Church.
Family (la Famiglia) – Above all, to bear true faith, loyalty, allegiance, and duty to our own family, our immediate family, our extended family, our community family, our national family, and ultimately the human family.
Notice of Correction: When I first posted this, I was confused regarding the authorship of the Nine Principles, and did not realize Steve-O was the author. My apologies to him and you.