To Build A Community

Photo by Kevin Dooley
Photo by Kevin Dooley

Over the weekend, I talked a bit about “tribes” and why tribes aren’t such a bad thing.  Now, I’d like to float my own idea for an intentional tribe, or a community.  Whatever term you use is irrelevant.  What matters is that it’s a group of people who bind themselves together under a set of principles.

What follows are my own ideas for my own community.  If you are using this as a guideline for your own, awesome.  I merely ask you to change the name.

No, there will not be franchises or charters in other places like motorcycle clubs.  This isn’t how any of this works.  For a tribe to work, in my opinion, we have to know one another personally.  Stupid things like race or religion aren’t important, but close and personal ties do.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the Dogs of War.

Founding Principles

1. Brotherhood

You ever have that group of friends that will do anything for one another?  A phone call at 3:00 AM saying they need help half a state away, and no one thinks anything about going?  If you have that, you already have your tribe started, believe it or not.  Most of us haven’t had that, not in a long time at least.

Brotherhood is about creating those bonds.  Each member of the group is sworn to help the others to the best of their ability.  They should already get along, but brotherhood isn’t about getting along.  It’s about creating a group that, even when they don’t like one another, will still pull together against an outside threat.

2. Adherence To The Core Virtues of Strength, Courage, Competence and Honor

These core virtues, as I call them, aren’t anything special out in the real world.  Competence is appreciated, but the others?  Courageous people are often called fools.  Strong people are ridiculed in other ways, and honorable people are termed as chumps.  These virtues aren’t things to be celebrated in the real world.

One of the purposes of this group is to create an organization that doesn’t just celebrate these virtues when they find them but demands them of the men in the group.  These virtues aren’t exceptions, or reasons for ridicule, but expectations.

3. Physical Fitness

Traditionally, tribes that run around all the time are going to be fit all on their own.  Running down wild animals and foraging for food tends to keep one lean, after all.  Farm work doesn’t hurt either.

Americans, as a society, have lost that.  Industrialization, for its many benefits, has also made us soft.  There’s nothing to force us to be fit just to exist, so we have to find it ourselves.

This community will hold one another accountable, to make it so each member is as strong and fit as humanly possible.

4. Embracing the Warrior Aspect Within

Yes, it sounds hokey, but it’s not.  Men are warriors.  It’s one of the roles of men.  Men are protectors, after all.

It should be expected that men prepare for battle.  Yes, I know that statistically, the vast majority of us will never be involved in an altercation, but that’s irrelevant.  The most dangerous battle is the one you failed to prepare for.

That means we study personal defense in its many forms to the best of our ability.

5. Fostering Family

I personally believe that real men are either family men, or are at least willing to be family men.  Any tribe I’m involved in should have family as a key point.

The reality is that when someone joins a tribe, their family joins as well.  They become part of the community, and their family would become our family.

It’s also here that we emphasize the other two roles of men, the professor and the provider.

6. Tolerance of Any Aspects of Fellow Members That Have No Impact on Others

Oh, no.  Here we go, right?  First, you start talking tolerance, and then you go full-on social justice warrior, right?


Someone who is part of the group is part of the group.  Their sexuality, religion, etc is irrelevant.  If it doesn’t hurt you, you tolerate it.  And I do mean tolerate, not endorse or enthusiastically support.  You’re not required to like it, you’re just required to that it’s what they do and who they are.


Now, with that out of the way, let’s get into some other aspects of the group.

Why the name “Dogs of War”?

First, the name denotes the martial aspects of the group’s founding principles rather clearly.

Second, the quote is from Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar.  “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war.”  This also shows that we have no interest in being mindless brutes.  Intelligence matters.  A big, dumb warrior will often lose to a smaller, smarter warrior.

Are we a revolutionary group?

It’s a fair question since we talk about battle and stuff in our founding principles, but no.

A revolutionary group seeks to overthrow the societal order in some manner, such as through overthrowing the government.

We, as an organization, don’t care about society.  Instead, we seek to remove ourselves from society for brief periods of time where we can exist in a manner which we believe is more in keeping with our nature.

We simply want to exist.  Society can do what it wants, and we’ll do what we want.

What about Gender roles Within the group?

Yes, there are definite gender roles.  There are things that will be generally expected from men and women within the community.

Men are the warriors and laborers.  They do the brunt of work and are the ones expected to partake of all warrior-related endeavors.


The role of women is still up for debate, however, so long as it doesn’t go against the founding principles of the group.  My idea is that women serve as the peacemakers within the group.  They resolve conflicts so that the health of the group is never compromised.

What I don’t want to do is tell women they have to conform to a traditional gender role when they’ve never really had to fulfill it before.


Now, any group needs its identity.  The Dogs of War aren’t any different.  this starts with identifying marks.

The proposed Symbol?  A black field with a white lambda on it.

Photo snagged through Google. If it's yours, and you want it pulled, let me know.
Photo snagged through Google. If it’s yours, and you want it pulled, let me know.

The reason? The Lambda was the symbol adopted by Spartan warriors for their shields.  The Spartan shield protected not only the warrior’s body but those of his brothers in the phalanx.  This symbol is perfect for the Dogs of War as we, as people must also protect our brothers to the best of our ability.

The lambda should be the version that resembles a triangle missing its bottom line rather than the one used in mathematical formulas.  This is because this version of a lambda is most closely associated in the American mind with that of the Spartan warriors in the move 300.

The black of the field represents the darkness descending upon society, a darkness many have noted and promptly blamed whatever boogeyman they prefer for it.  For us, it doesn’t matter what the cause is.  It is simply there, and that is enough.

The white of the lambda represents the purity of purpose we hope to foster in our brothers and sisters.

Other things

Obviously, this isn’t complete.  I’ve got some proposed rules, and I believe there needs to be a formal expulsion process for when someone crosses the line and doesn’t live up to his obligations within the group, but that’s all stuff to be hammered out in person.

In fact, much of this needs to be hammered out in person.  This is the framework of a group, an enticement to attract certain people.  Maybe.

One other thing of note is that membership shouldn’t prevent membership in other organizations.  I’m a freemason, which does provide me with a type of brotherhood as well.  In fact, that’s why I feel it’s so important for this group.

My point, however, is that I’m not interested in dropping freemasonry, so why would I expect others to drop their organizations?

Well, there’s my framework.  We’ll see if it accomplishes anything.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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