I forgot to say that I finished The Grapes of Wrath and found that (to me) the storyline itself was not all that compelling. As a written work, however, it is very moving. Steinbeck is a tremendous author who knows exactly how to craft words so that they convey his emotions to the reader. What I liked most about it were the chapters that were not devoted to the plot, but to his musings on the entire situation of the refugees. I did not feel that it made socialism something to be desired; I just came away knowing that capitalism is an ugly beast when it runs amuck. So basically, if everyone had followed Catholic ethics, the problem would not have been so problematic. Unfortunately, there aren't as many people willing to follow Catholic social teaching as you might hope, so they turn instead to the government. Which should ring a few alarm bells on principle (I'm thinking that you don't want the people who brought you the DMV to taking care of anything you care about) but also seems to be a fairly evident means of slowly sapping the will of man to provide for himself. Private charity, taken when needed, is another matter. When you get down to the local level, where you know the people in question, then you can help them. Why would you want a group of people thousands of miles away deciding what your family gets and when they get it? It's common sense. But then, common sense is hardly ever anybody's strong suit.
From Catherine_Creagan - 28.6.08