The rational versus the radical left

So, as pointed out on a few other threads, in launching his new book Eoin Ó Broin described SF’s position and future as:

    It is the left republican tradition started by Connolly and continued by Mellows, Gilmore, O’Donnell, the Republican Congress, Clann na Poblachta and even the Workers’ Party to which we belong….. Sinn Féin’s future must be a left republican future, taking our place in the globally resurgent radical democratic left of Europe, Latin America and the wider world

Nate Silver on 538 posted a topic a few days ago on the rational versus radical left. The differences are summed up here (sadly I can’t hotlink the image).

Nate comes down firmly on the side of rational progressivism

    It should come as no surprise that I regard myself as a rational progressive. I believe in intellectual progress — that we, as a species, are gradually becoming smarter. I believe that there are objectively right answers to many political and economic questions.

    I believe that economic growth is both a reflection of and a contributor toward societal progress, that economic growth has facilitated a higher standard of living, and that this is empirically indisputable. I also believe, however, that our society is now so exceptionally wealthy — even in the midst of a severe recession — that it has little excuse not to provide for some basic level of dignity for all its citizens.

    I believe that answers to questions like these do not always come from the establishment. But I also believe that it is just as important to question one’s own assumptions as to question the assumption of others.

I tend to agree, and fancy that taking our place in the globally resurgent radical democratic left of Europe, Latin America and the wider world is a quick route to the slow political death of SF, and certainly a glass ceiling in the South. Radicallism hasn’t particularly served SF well in government – the radical approach to education has resulted in a free for all, whereas a more rational and evolutionary approach may have moved things closer to their desired results. On a range of other other issues, such as the Irish language, SF’s radical roots in opposition would probably be better served by moving to a more rational approach in government.