WASHINGTON—Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and a military and intelligence analyst, told an audience of teenagers recently that they are the front line for the defense of America’s freedom.
“Ronald Reagan was right: The loss of liberty is always just one generation away,” he said at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit in Washington on July 26. “You have to always be ready to fight for your freedom.”
Gorka traced his personal connection to tyranny from 1945 to today’s world.
“Imagine a 15-year-old boy and he’s living in what had been a beautiful city. The city, which after five years of war is ravaged,” he said. “In this case, it’s not the Middle East; It’s Europe, and it’s not 2018, it’s 1945.
“And this young boy has lived through the destruction of one of the most beautiful cities in the world—Budapest. And he’s lived through the fascist—the Nazi—occupation of his country, an occupation that even as a child affected him,” Gorka recounted. “Why?”
Gorka said the boy was Catholic but had Jewish friends who went to the same school. And when the Nazis took over Hungary, the Jewish children began to be intimidated and brutalized by the fascists. When his Jewish friends were forced to wear the Star of David, the young boy would escort them to school to make sure they weren’t spat on or abused, Gorka said.
“Then the war ends. The good guys win. [And] now, he has hope,” said Gorka. “[Hungary] would finally be free again. It would have democracy. It would have free markets. It would be allowed to finally choose its own government again.
“But it wasn’t to be. Over the next three years, as he grew up into a man, what happened?” Gorka said. “Fascism was replaced with communism.”
The boy was now 18 and in college. He decided to fight against the regime and found eight others to join him in forming a secret underground organization that collected sensitive information on the communists and their crimes, Gorka said.
“And they smuggled that information out to the West, so that maybe some democracy out there could help them: Help them restore their freedom,” Gorka said. “And he did so for eight months.”
But the group was unknowingly sending the information to traitors working for the Soviet Union within Britain’s MI6 agency. One of the MI6 agents, Kim Philby, figured out the identities of the group and sent them to the Kremlin.
“As a result, two years later, after trying to undermine that dictatorship—at the age of 20—that young man who had started it all was arrested by the secret police, tortured in the cellar of their headquarters, and given a life sentence in a communist prison,” Gorka said.
Then he dropped the plot twist: “That young man was my father.”
Gorka went on to say that his father was broken out of prison in 1956, during a brief student uprising in Hungary. He escaped, while facing a “shoot to kill” order on his head, and made it to England as a refugee, where Gorka was born and raised.
“You must always be ready to fight for your freedom. Whether it’s from Nazis, whether it’s from communists or whether it’s from jihadis,” he said. “Whether it’s people in our own country who want to censor you, [or] want to use legislation to shut you down [or] who want to say, ‘You don’t get to have a First Amendment unless you’re in this little free-speech zone.’ Well, guess what, our free-speech zone goes from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”
Gorka told the young audience that they need to understand the history of human society. He said there are only two ways of running a society: “One of them is about the government doing everything, and the other one is about guaranteeing that the individual has maximal liberty.
“Of those two options, only one of them leads to some kind of relatively equitable situation,” he said. “The other one eventually—when it goes to the ultimate expression—leads to the death of millions. … The bigger the government the smaller the citizen.”
Gorka advised the teens that the left tends to respond to emotion over facts.
“They care about photographs of immigrant children who are put in cages. The fact they were put in cages by Obama is irrelevant. Facts don’t matter,” he said.
“They care about justice. Social-justice warriors, right? Well, talk to them about justice,” he said. “Ask them: ‘Which system of government has raised more people out of poverty and dictatorship than any other in the history of mankind?’ Free-market democracies, capitalist systems.”
Gorka encouraged the young leaders to read a lot of books to increase their knowledge.
“Appeal to the heart with your arguments. And spread the word. You have an amazing window now. We have six years … to undo 40 years of social engineering.”