I’ve known Maj Toure for about seven years now and I’ve watched his growth and the growth of his projects with great admiration.
In 2018, while I was working for a presidential campaign, I helped bring him to the Libertarian National Convention in New Orleans to introduce him in person to a party that had, for all its good intentions, been doing an atrocious job of connecting with urban America.
So when I saw him challenge Reason Magazine to cover his work and the “growth of libertarianism in the hood,” I couldn’t help but reach out and offer to do the job myself.
For decades, the urban community has alternated between being under the thumb of authoritarian statism or, at the very least, underserved by politicians who make promises and fail to deliver anything but a self-perpetuating cycle of dependency with tyrannical strings attached.
So when I asked why there was “rising interest in Libertarianism“ in urban America, it seems like a no-brainer for Maj to claim credit for himself and his allies. but I know Maj well enough to know that’s not how he was going to respond.
“It’s not just because libertarians are doing more work. Of course, huge shouts to the Mises Caucus and the work that they’ve done over the last 5, going on 6 years, to right the ship.”
The Perfect Storm
But the outspoken gun rights advocate says there’s more to it than that. He said the Libertarian Party still has a long way to go to repair an image that has long failed on many levels to connect with the black community.
“When people, even including myself, were like ‘man, fuck these dweebs in charge. I’m not fucking with that.’ I was falling victim to that ‘I’m a libertarian, but I don’t fuck with the party’ mentality.”
He credits the Mises Caucus community, led by its founder, Michael Heise, with holding the line and doing the work from within the party rather than abandoning the party altogether. “That staying power to say ‘nah we’re gonna fucking course correct.’ That’s impactful.”
So why IS libertarianism surging in urban areas? The current administration seems to be putting its foot on the gas and driving the statist agenda at record speeds towards the cliff.
The Culpability of the State on Full Display
“Their high level of fuck-ups on every level: economically, socially, politically…even Psaki had to step down. And she’s bullshitter number 1,” he laughs as he recalls the press secretary’s penchant for pretense and pageantry.
He continued to paint the picture that they seem to not even be hiding behind the curtain anymore.
“A few days ago, President Biden gave a speech. Every picture from that speech, it looked like the fucking chancellor from V for Vendetta. When I saw those images, I immediately assumed they were Photoshopped.”
When it comes to the rank and file, current and former Republicans and Democrats are looking for alternatives.
“There’s an explosion of interest in libertarianism in the hood because people are asking ‘what the fuck can I do?” And to hear him tell it, they seem to be asking this question not rhetorically, but with a real determination to find an answer.
Hip-Hop and Freedom
What is it about urban and hip-hop culture, though, that seems to make it the perfect fit for libertarianism?
There’s perhaps no demographic against whom the state is more perniciously and consistently weaponized. Whether it’s the war on drugs, over policing, redlining, gentrification, or the barriers to entrepreneurship via taxation, licensing, fees, and zoning restrictions that seem to be cranked up to maximum intensity in urban areas.
Hip-hop has always been (and continues to be) surgical at identifying these obstacles and providing the blueprint for overcoming them. Look at what grows from that spirit of perseverance and imagine what the hood could produce if it were allowed to create and produce freely.
Jay-Z recently discussed this in a highly circulated Twitter Space.
Credit to our friend and mentor Sonnie Johnson for consistently trumpeting this message:
And the kingpin of Roc-A-Fella Records took his shots at the state in this week’s release with DJ Khaled:
It’s not that the left has been offering great options to solve these problems, it’s more that they are often the only ones offering any options at all, even if those options tend to perpetuate or even exacerbate the problems.
Skin in the Game
So how do you present the option and appeal to this obvious and unfulfilled need for representation?
The 2019 Philadelphia city council at large candidate described his experience: “If you live in a blue city like Philadelphia, you know the Republicans aren’t doing anything.”
So people are more open now than ever to exploring libertarians as legitimate alternatives when they recognize that the Democrats are only offering more of the same in maybe different messaging packages.
“Last election that I was a part of in Philadelphia, they were using those Soros boxes. That was the last election they were allowed to use those boxes in Pennsylvania elections.”
So what’s the significance of the type of voting machines used?
“I was getting phone calls all day from people saying ‘Bro, I don’t see you on the ballot’ or ‘they’re telling me I have to vote Democrat all the way down my ballot.’ They were being told this by the person in the polling station! So I know the numbers were skewed.”
Staying True to Principles
“But that’s why I ran as a libertarian. To put that in the zeitgeist.”
But Maj seemed to see it as a personal challenge to hold true to his philosophy and not give in to the temptation to join one of the two major parties just for clout.
”And also, principally, could I have run as a Democrat and gotten more traction? Absolutely.” In all the time I’ve known him, he has never seemed like the “go along to get along” type.
“You know you talk about Jay Z,” he continued. “Jay Z got denied by every record label. ‘You’re never gonna be a star. You’re not gonna make it.’ He just was smart enough to keep going and was just like ‘you know let’s just do our own thing.’ The Libertarian Party is that. You know, the Republican Party was a third party at one point. And that’s why I have to speak this message to this demographic.”
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s great and that’s a cute story and it would be great if the libertarian message could have the success that Jay Z and hip-hop have had at large, but it’s not that easy.”
But Maj’s experience on the ground tells a different story. When he is able to connect with people and share the message, “when they get ahold of it, they’re like ‘oh fuck that, I’m never fucking with either of the other 2 (parties) ever again…that’s stupid!’”
Recently, the national Libertarian Party social media has been receiving criticism from the usual suspects. But Maj sees it as effective in reaching a broad demo of people “FED” up. “The fact that the national party’s Twitter is saying ‘We need to abolish the ATF. We need to abolish the IRS.‘ Every fucking body in the hood agrees with that.”
So could it be as simple as just moving to bolder messaging? It’s gonna take more than that, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
A fairly bold messenger himself, Maj explained, “there need to be people…like a Jay-Z or like an Allen Iverson, who say ‘this is who I am. This is where I’m from. This is what I do. This is how I look. This is how I dress. This is how I talk. And we’re gonna talk about this liberty shit. And we’re not gonna sugarcoat a motherfucking thing.’ And people are going to resonate with that.”
The Trump Effect
We’ve already seen it. It’s part of the reason Trump was so effective especially at appealing to black men. Love him for hate him, he spent decades being the figurehead of hip-hop aspirations of entrepreneurship.
“Say what you want about Trump, but the reason he has the appeal that he has is because he’s like ‘Yo fuck that, I’m doing what I’m doing.’“
People who truly believe in and want to advocate for freedom should take a similar approach according to Maj. Because the people receiving the message are sick and tired of being fed focus-grouped messaging that sounds like a script read by a telemarketer. We want someone to speak directly and tell the naked truth.
“That IS hip hop. That IS masculinity. That IS leadership.”
“America wants leaders that have balls. It’s every underdog story.”
Putting in the Work
Maj has been working tirelessly for the better part of a decade building Black Guns Matter and his new Solutionary Center in Philadelphia. He sees firsthand the response that those efforts get in the community.
He has created and built these projects without any concern for the order prescribed by the establishment. In fact, he has done this in the face of opposition from the established order.
His focus is on liberty, individual rights, and coming together voluntarily to work toward common goals without any forced collectivism and regardless of what the establishment trend may be.
If anything, he is hoping to create trends through his leadership, work ethic, and collaboration with other liberty-minded movers and shakers:
“In the next few months, Angela Stanton King, Ian Smith, and Major Williams will be open Libertarians.”
“They’re really (already) libertarian. They just needed someone to say ‘this is what it is.’ The GOP is stale. As long as they can sell tickets to CPAC, they’re going after the Mar-a-Lago crowd. Cool, get your money. I ain’t tripping. But that’s not gonna advance our cause.”
The Republican Party has become a lukewarm, “Law and Order” flavor of progressivism that only poses as an alternative to far left authoritarianism. To paraphrase Michael Malice, the GOP has just been a party of progressives driving the speed limit. “With a heavy dose of statism,” Maj made sure to remind me.
As bold alternatives go, it’s tough to outdo the Black Guns Matter founder. “What the fuck are you gonna do to me? What y’all gonna do to me? I do what the fuck I wanna do.”
Maj sees himself as somewhat of the tip of the spear for the urban libertarian explosion.
“Now you’ll have the more polished guys. There’s guys like Justin Amash, who is a legit Libertarian, but he’s also polished because he knows how DC works. But he’s not gonna be afraid to say the ATF should be abolished. So we ARE the big tent.”
With the decades of attempts by the state to stifle urban entrepreneurship, development, and just overall freedom, the soil is very fertile if the right seeds are planted. But there are a few very easy issues that would galvanize substantial support very quickly.
“Over policing of communities. Leave us the fuck alone, bro. Police should be like the fire department. If we don’t call you, we don’t need you.”
“That control and patrol shit? No. No thank you. Because that control and patrol shit is really road pirate shit.”
And anyone who has been pulled over for going 5 miles an hour over the speed limit or for an expired inspection sticker or no seatbelt knows that this is an issue that transcends race. But it seems to find its way into some of the worst outcomes in urban areas.
Over Policing: A Different Approach
“Police should not be driving around or parked somewhere,” he describes the situation as though the cops are driving around hunting for crime to prevent, so they naturally spend most of their time harassing peaceful people because there’s just not that much crime happening out in plain sight of patrol cars and on highways. “Yet, somehow, even with your cars floating around, the average response time is still 11 minutes?“
Maj then went on to describe a fire that he witnessed in North Philly last week where, from the time he noticed the fire until the fire was completely extinguished was under 10 minutes.
“Someone called them. They weren’t riding around in the fire truck wasting gas saying ‘where the fuckin’ fires at?’“
He pointed out the hypocrisy that is on full display when people in urban communities are told to “pick themselves up by the bootstraps“ and not rely on government for help but then, they are told by the same conservative politicians and talking heads that their communities need to be heavily policed.
“No we don’t. No we fucking don’t. We wanna smoke what we smoke. We want to sell what we sell. Leave us the fuck alone. Let it be Amsterdam…Stop over policing. Fall back.”
One way to facilitate a drastic reduction in over policing, he told me, is to “highlight the decriminalization of all substances. Not because the hood is so hooked on drugs. It just ties into the overpolicing.”
So how are libertarian ideas best introduced to that underserved urban community?
“If the Libertarians have handsome, young, dreadlocked, aggressive shooters such as myself spreading that message, then we win. And as we have more people echoing those sentiments, we win,” he assures me, somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
But something tells me he’s not wrong.