To be learned was, for most of literate history, to be familiar-with and adept in quotation and evaluation of, 'authorities' - essentially the canonical and otherwise great writers of the past.
On the other hand, the 'anti-authoritarian' stance swept Western civilization from the romantic era onwards, and accelerating especially throughout the 1960s.
Anti-authoritarianism purports to replace authority with 'evidence' and reason.
Evidence and reason are now (purportedly) the basis of all decision-making: the only claims of authority are claims to have evidence and reason on one's side.
And yet evidence and reason are ignored when they are not faked.
So, having tried evidence and reason as the basis of authority, and evidence and reason having proven themselves inadequate, we need to return to authority: openly, explicitly and with discernment.
To argue from authority is the opposite of being mindless and slavish - as familiarity with the procedure makes clear.
Authority is evaluated, by rational procedures, as the major source of evidence - with 'experience' being the main other source; recognizing that experience is intrinsically more diverse and variable - less-stable and less-thoroughly evaluated: hence given less weight.
(Yet now, given the corruption and dishonesty of officially-sanctioned evidence and reason, we are thrown-back onto mere experience - since we cannot trust anything else.)
Neither is the process of arguing from authority closed and sterile; there is always the possibility of refinement, clarification and even (sometimes, but rarely) of reinterpretation.
Authorities are continually under evaluation, mostly by mutual comparison: some are rejected or down-graded.
And new authorities may emerge, be discovered or recognized (albeit rarely).
To argue from authority is, however, to recognize the eternal verity and relevance of authority - most authorities are old, almost inevitably, because there was more wisdom in the recorded past than exists at present.
To argue from authority entails a certain humility in the face of the past: specifically it entails ejecting the current assumption that it is plausible that we (either personally, or our generation) are confidently able to discard historical knowledge wholesale and make a fresh start on things; yet in doing so expect to improve things...
What an absurd idea! Yet of course it is mainstream: we reject historical art, science and morality wholesale and with scarcely any awareness that we have done so.
And yet we expect the pitiful results of this strategic ignorance and incompetence to be treated with the same reverence as art, science and morality used to command!
This cannot continue, it will not continue.