Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's in the Genes

The Seal of Stibor Stiboricz
Too often when people go looking for their genealogical roots they are searching for some connection to a monarch or other person of inherited wealth or position.  When I went searching for my family's identity I did not find any kings or despotic rulers.  What I found instead was an inherited set of values that amazingly resonate down through the centuries and across the oceans.  By the miracle of the modern internet I found more than roots, more than family.  I have found the moral underpinnings for the things that I was brought up to believe by my father and his father before him.  As it turns out none of this is by mere coincidence.

In speaking out in political matters I often talk about values and how they govern (or should govern) how we behave and the associations we make.  It has always been clear that I support the Progressive model of society, a model that emphasizes the social contract placing the responsibility of the maintenance of society on those with the power and resources to accomplish it.  So, imagine my surprise that on discovering that the stories my father told of our membership in the ancient clan of Ostoja were not only true, but that the clan held the same values of Progressive egalitarianism at its core dogma.

I had once regarded the clan as mere legend, the stories my father told of the stories he had been told by his father.  But, when I discovered that the clan was alive and well and that other Starzewskis and dozens of other families still actively supported its organization and ideals legend became oral history and the oral history was confirmed by the documented history maintained by the clan at their website

The following is their 10 point statement of values.

1. Christianity (In a rather unique sense)

Ostoja coat of arms of the cross, which resembles the Christian values referring to the man withfree will and an open mind, tolerant to diversity, progressive, sensitive to the suffering of another human being.

2. Education, training the free mind.

3. Loyalty and unity
Unity has always been and is the strength. Unity is built on shared values that unite.

4. Humanism - in its full sense
Ostojczycy churches built in the thirteenth century, erected temples of faith. But not only that, also built Ostojczycy support centers for the sick, poor and old lifting, supporting, accepting,without regard for race, religion, guilt or relationship.

5. morale and ethics
That is the basis of existence of law not only society but also the environment. It is an integral part of humanism, which recognizes the value, dignity and autonomy of each individual and their inalienable right to self-realization in the society.

6. Wisdom and prudence
... to understand the power of science and a free mind and the wisdom flowing from them.

7. Tolerance and Pluralism
Respect for the right of every man to his own views, beliefs and preferences. In terms oftolerance and pluralism.

8. Justice 
The law is the backbone of society, and when it does not work, we are damaged which leads to the collapse of morality.

9. Freedom

10. Patriotism
Patriotism is the opposite of chauvinism and nationalism as part of its essence is respect for other peoples and cultures. Those not respecting others do not have the right to expect respect for themselves.

I once felt very alone in holding these truths to my heart.  It is more than a little reassuring that there is not just history but an entire extended family behind it.

Labels and titles mean little without theses underlying shared values.  There can be no unity without that.  Those that seek to take on the mantle of Progressivism while denying or denigrating its positions cannot call themselves Progressives - or Democrats for that matter.  To do so is to perpetrate a fraud, a fraud which will ultimately undo the organization.

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