There’s an old bumper sticker with the words “Question authority.” To which the proper response, of course, is: “Says who?” As that reply suggests, suspicion of authority, however well advised, does not solve or clarify the problem of authority. Whenever we want someone to heed what we’re saying, we end up invoking or assuming some kind of authority.
What kind of towns do people want to live in? It might seem like a vast, imposing question, but the answer is no great mystery to the New Urbanists, an impressive group of environmentalists, architects, designers and town planners who have been trying to teach developers what features of the built environment make a community attractive, livable and, well, a community.
It’s like the Berlin Wall falling down,” said one Mexican official about his country’s July 2 election. “But the PRI lasted longer than the wall.” A lot longer. In power for 71 years, the oxymoronically named Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has had the longest continuous rule of any political group in the world.
The completion, or near completion, of the human genome project was announced with expressions of Promethean awe. The New York Times called the feat “a pinnacle of human self-knowledge.” Other commentators referred to the new knowledge as the “Book of Life.” President Clinton said mapping the body’s sequence of genes was like “learning the language of God.” And Dr.