Trust vs. Authority

John Yoo, a current law professor at the University of Berkeley, California, represents an author I find authoritative but do not trust. His previous role as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel inform and legitimize his publications, especially The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs after 9/11. While his literature demonstrates his profound expertise in foreign affairs, constitutional powers, and international law, it’s hard to trust a man who authored the Torture Memos (which advised the CIA and the executive on use of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding). I am ideologically opposed to many of his views but also agree with some others—yet the benumbed tone of his writing makes me, as a reader, very cautious.

In contrast, Max Ehrenfreund’s article for The Washington Post on Private Schools being a waste of money for white middle class kids is trustworthy, but not authoritative. I trust what he is saying about given his own experience at Yale (although I am not sure why, then, he would Harvard as a doctoral candidate with those beliefs). However, he hasn’t experienced the other side of his assertion (attending a public university). I also believe/ trust his statistics about minorities in colleges, but he does not have the authority, based on his race, to propose what is best for minorities when applying to college (as he does in the article).

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