“The Nine Principles of Italian-Americanism” [CORRECTED]

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”: Continue reading

The Tears of Keith Ellison

The grand drama at Rep. Peter King’s Congressional hearings investigating the radicalization of American Muslims last week was provided by Rep. Keith Ellison, who broke down crying while telling the story of a Muslim-American hero, Mohammed Salman Hamdani, who rushed to lower Manhattan on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 to assist in rescue efforts, and died in the collapse of the World Trade Center. Ellison said:

After the tragedy some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim. It was only when his remains were identified that these lies were fully exposed. Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a fellow American who gave his life for other Americans. His life should not be defined as a member of an ethnic group or a member of a religion, but as an American who gave everything for his fellow citizens.

I found the performance odd and vaguely troubling, and now that I’ve thought about it for a few days, I know why. The statement by Ellison, who converted to Islam, and the tears that accompanied it, raise a few ethical issues, beginning with the Ethics Alarms standard, “What’s going on here?” Continue reading