Robert's Rules of Wisdom

Robert's Rules of Wisdom

Robert's Rules of Wisdom

Robert West | October 5, 2023

What is wisdom and does it differ from intelligence?

Intelligence tells you smoking is bad, wisdom means you don’t smoke. Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting tomatoes in a fruit salad.

There has been a lot of buzz recently about people in the GOP using Robert’s Rules of Order in the wrong way. When it comes to the County GOP Chairs, I am most familiar with these folks outright violating the rules either through ignorance or evil intent. There is not a lot you can do with a person that refuses to follow the rules except not play with them.

Instead of walking out the CEC can decide to call their own meeting in most cases. People can run against this County Chair, find a candidate to run against them or recruit enough good precinct chairs so the County Chair becomes irrelevant.

Using the Rules to Control

What to do with the people that use the rules to the letter to control, brow beat or obstruct their intended use?

Endlessly shouting “I make a motion…” and endlessly having your allies shout “Second” is a sure way to get the body to do nothing and discourage anyone from wasting their time showing up to the next meeting.

If the people that are using the rules to defeat the purpose of the rules cannot be convinced to not only follow the rules but also the intent of the rules, perhaps not showing up is exactly what the CEC should do. Let these three or four obstructionists show up to an empty room without quorum a few times, until they decide to stop showing up.

Perhaps someone could ask for a “point of information” and inquire if the obstructionist intends to allow the body to get anything done and if it is clear they will not, a “Motion to Adjourn” would be the next logical step.

These should work if the people in question are actually interested in getting anything done but if they are simply Democratic infiltrators sabotaging the County GOP then they need to be replaced in the next primary. Recruit candidates, a lot of candidates, to run against them.

Purpose of Robert’s Rules of Order

What are Robert’s Rules of Order and what is their purpose?

Essentially, “RRoO” are used to run a meeting. Time is what they are meant to use effectively. A shopping list is a great comparison except your managing money with a list instead of time.

So, the things you must have go first, things you wanted to get last time but could not. Sure, you can put less important items on the list and if you have enough, get those as well.

Here are the four main principles of Robert’s Rules of Order:

  1. Someone must run the meeting and act as the referee. Make sure things are done in the correct order.
  2. ALL members can bring up ideas, discuss and vote on them.
  3. ALL members can bring things up and no one should speak twice before everyone else has a chance. 
  4. Majority rules but everyone should be operating under the same rules.

Now these goals might become a bit difficult or even impossible with a large group but if one person is monopolizing the meeting, something is clearly wrong. If someone is never allowed to speak, make a motion or participate, something is wrong. You do not have to know “RRoO” to know that a motion cannot be “out of order” just because the Chair does not like it or does not agree with it.

Likewise, you don’t have to be an expert to know that someone that knows the rules might not be a jerk and using them in a way that is counterproductive.

Robert’s Rules are available at most bookstores and you can pick them up online for a few dollars. They are well worth the time and the great news is a lot of the material does not apply to what we do in the GOP but rather corporate or legislative proceedings.

There is a certain order of how things happen in and you will have to learn a few terms, but it is not a law degree or a new language.

Remember that any set of rules and laws are merely tools and tools can be used for good or ill, often without people realizing that what they are used for is more important than how well they are used.

Robert West

> Order Robert's Rules here