Amor Fati: On the End of 71 Republic

Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

After nearly 3 years of consistent and dedicated journalism, 71 Republic is coming to an end. To some, this may not mean much. To others, this is probably coming quite unexpectedly. So I wanted to express my thoughts on the end and answer a couple of possible questions. Every written piece is structured to answer a central question. That’s the thesis of the writing.

I hope to answer why 71 Republic is ending, what my intention was behind 71 Republic, and my final thoughts on the matter.

Why is it Ending?

On June 10th of 2017, Matthew Geiger (CEO) and I (COO) launched 71republic.com. We gathered up a team of very young writers and started publishing consistent content. Over the next few months, the writing ability of the members greatly advanced. Things were looking good, and views were consistently going up, people were reading, and articles were being shared. 71 Republic grew larger than I had ever really expected it to at that point.

As we came up, many extremely talented young people joined the team and helped boost us forward.

However, the growth didn’t last forever. We never crashed, but we didn’t go up either. There was a clear plateau for a long time. Eventually, we came to the realization that it would be incredibly difficult to break into the journalism market when all of our members were poor, busy college students.

It didn’t make sense to keep going. Even though growth was still possible, it wasn’t possible for us to pull off in our respective life situations. Therefore, we’re ending content output for the time being.

What Was It?

So what was 71 Republic supposed to be? What did I want to do with it?

When I first began working with 71 Republic, I wasn’t sure what I was doing and neither was anyone else. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, what my goal was, or even what my beliefs were.

As time went on, though, I learned. I learned about many other projects that were taking on authority without having masses of people or coffers of cash behind them.

These were projects like WikiLeaks, Bitcoin, and the Ghost Gun. I saw these as the most effective ways to fight back against state power bleeding into our lives. This is what I wrote about in my article WikiLeaks for Everything, which I republished somewhat recently. In the article, I said:

To end the political world as we know it and create a freer future, we need to build more “WikiLeaks for X.” These are going to permanently alter political reality in ways that the status quo deems impossible. What the status quo deems impossible, though, is not truly so. Action needs to take place outside of the bounds of what the social order has even named.

I wanted to see if this could be done with journalism. But my teammates and I did not have the experience or resources to implement this in the field of journalism at this time.

Maybe there’s no such application in journalism.

Maybe there is, and maybe someone else should try.

Maybe I’ll try again. But that’s what I wanted to do with 71 Republic.

Closing Thoughts

This part of the article is so that I don’t have to type the same answers to a bunch of texts and emails.

It doesn’t bother me that much that 71 Republic is coming to an end, and for a couple of reasons.

First is that it’s a sunk cost. I already put all this work in, and I’m not going to be able to un-put that work in. I can only make decisions based on what will be best for me in the future.

The second is that, although it’s a sunk cost, I gained a lot from it. My ability to write has become astronomically better than it was before. Most of the reason for the fact that I’m in college can be traced back to 71 Republic. I learned a lot about SEO, research, and how to appeal to an audience. These skills are not going away, and they only make me better equipped for my next project.

Am I going to regret the hard work that I put in that didn’t necessarily pay off? No. I don’t believe in regret. I don’t think getting upset about the past is a very good way to live. The Stoics have a phrase: Amor Fati. This means to “love fate” in Latin. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to just accept the fate of 71 Republic for what it is; rather, I’m going to love it.