David McWilliams: Educated elite have become more left wing

Will Ireland’s middle class vote for a party that promises to build homes for their children?

WB Yeats: arguably the arch sage. Photograph: Getty

WB Yeats: arguably the arch sage. Photograph: Getty

Imagine the history of power not as a battle of ideology, nation states or great armies, but as a struggle between three castes, the sage or priestly caste, the merchant caste and the warrior caste. In Merchant, Soldier, Sage, British historian David Priestland has framed the history of power as an ongoing conflict between these various castes.

Deploying the description “caste” seems vaguely anachronistic to modern western readers. The caste system is often interpreted as exclusively Indian in nature, but this description is too literal. Contemporary Ireland has a caste system and economic power is distributed unevenly within these castes of sage, warrior and merchant, who are always vying for power.

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