Please Educate Me
Last night, over a pint of nice, dark German beer, one of my classmates and I somehow got started on the subject of politics. She mentioned that she has been reading Marx. My first thought was an expletive I will not repeat here. We moved quickly on to European Union and national health care, both of which she, of course favors. I am against all three of these things, but I found I was almost totally unable to articulate my position, beginning with my inability to articulate the Church's position on Marxism--I could only stammer something about "enforced charity," to which my school mate responded "Oh, I've been reading a book by __ and he used that very phrase, saying that people who are against Marx often criticize him for that, even though that isn't what Marx meant at all..." and "So many people only see the evil that's been done by Communist countries, but they did those awful things because they got Communism all wrong...." I couldn't reply to that, and I am very embarrassed about it.
It's been four or five years since I last read The Communist Manifesto followed closely by Leo XIII's classic Rerum Novarum. Can anyone suggest further reading for me, concerning the Church's anti-Communist/Socialist position? Also, I know in my gut that European Union is a bad thing, but other than a vague idea about it possibly erasing individual cultures, I couldn't say why--any suggestions on reading about this?
My knowledge of world politics is really sad because it's not a subject I am interested in, but clearly I do need to learn enough to defend my own position when someone asks me about it.