accept the swap; they will find their soup watery and theirnbeds hard. The scoffers also claim that liberty is a merenformality in the West, and authentic only in the East. If younbelieve Them, then people here are slaves who imaginenthemselves to be free, while people there are free andnbelieve themselves to be slaves.nThere is a certain kind of philosopher who seeks truth innbooks and racks his brains for abstract definitions of liberty,nabsolutely useless to the men in Kolyma. The kind of libertyndreamed of by Varlam Chalamov and his zek companionsnwill always be truer than any erudite definition. For me,nliberty has never been an abstraction, for there have beennmoments when I felt I could touch it, as a blind manncaresses the face of a loved one.nI felt that most sharply on July 8, 1946, on the evening ofna beautiful summer day. After weeks of preparation,nMilenko and I had finally arrived at the Austrian-Yugoslavnborder. Before us flowed the Mura River, running cold,nhigh, and fast. On the Austrian bank, a forest of stunted treesnconcealed an unknown world, almost within our reach. Atnour feet the river twisted past in long, muddy coils, but wenhad no time for reflection. We threw ourselves into thenwater and for an eternity struggled against the current.nWHAT AILS THE HISTORICALnPROFESSION? by Paul GottfriednAcademic historians are too uncritically receptive tonUtopian thinking. Too many believe in what KarinMannheim described as the striving for a new world order,nan order which “would shatter all existing reality.”nThis utopianism should not be identified too closely withnhistorical materialism—or with Marxism, which claims tonrest on a materialist foundation. Academic Utopians mayninvoke Marx, but materialism is not the source of theirndreams.nHowever, it was Marx and his disciples who weddednhistorical materialism to revolutionary ideology. Furthermore,nMarxists obscure historical facts—for example, thenbrutal imperialism and mass murder practiced by thenSoviets — to uphold the reputation of self-proclaimed Marxistngovernments. Marxist historians have ritualistically exaggeratednthe evils of the American capitalist economy, andnsome have manufactured slave revolts in the antebellumnSouth when the party line required it.nThere are exceptions. A self-declared Marxist, EugenenGenovese, has produced ground-breaking scholarship onnthe Southern slave economy. Another Marxist, ChristophernHill, has done monumental work on the puritan revolution,nincluding a magisterial study of Oliver Cromwell. Marxnhimself wrote with insight as well as passion about the 1848nFrench revolution. Surveying the changes that had occurrednin France since the great revolution in 1789, Marx observednPaul Gottfried is a senior editor at The World & I andncoauthor of The Conservative Movement.nwhich kept forcing us back towards the Yugoslav bank. Justnwhen I was beginning to think that the river was to be ourngrave, it took pity on us and cast us into a cove. Beforensetting out through the stunted forest, we took one last looknat the green hills of our native land. We crossed the forestnand reached a village whose people came out and stared atnus in silence, with good reason. I wore a soaking wet suit andnMilenko had no pants at all, the river having kept them asnthe price of our passage.nWe spent our first night of freedom in a barn open to thennorth wind. In the farmyard below us, we could see strangenhalf-timbered buildings, which reminded me of the paintingsnof the Flemish masters. Ursa Minor shone from ancloudless sky with the polestar at its far end. Our futurencould not have been murkier. We had neither money nornfriends nor proper papers, and yet, the memory of that firstnnight has remained one of joy and serenity. Several times Inawoke and, remembering that Yugoslav police could nonlonger reach me, went back to sleep, my soul at peace.nThe following morning, just as the sun was rising behindnthe mountains, we set out with our bundles. This was thenbeginning of our pilgrimage to that imaginary sanctuaryncalled Liberty.nnnDECEMBER 19881 17n