Remembering Cliff Hammond

February 6th, 2013 · No Comments · journalism, role of government

By Arthur Alpert

Cliff Hammond’s Albuquerque Journal obituary reminded me that no matter the journalistic malfeasance the newspaper perpetrates daily to serve the plutocracy, management is not totalitarian.

Deborah Ziff’s account of his life in the Tuesday, Feb. 5 issue made no attempt to airbrush the facts of his – dare I say it? – Socialist youth.

Yes, in the Great Depression, Cliff joined FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided a bed and three squares in a quasi-military environment in return for his labor on public works. Not private works, mind you, but public, which is to say for the common good.

Oh, the shame of it.

Cliff and I met when I spoke to a CCC alumni meeting, probably in the mid-1990s, and we talked a few times afterwards. His appreciation for what the government had done for him was never less than effusive.

In 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps (another government provider of generous benefits) where he learned a trade

Naturally, having enjoyed the embrace of the welfare state not once but twice, Cliff spent the rest of his years as a moocher, lacking all ambition, on the dole.


In fact, as the obit related, Cliff pursued several entrepreneurial challenges until finding his niche in the amusement park business.

It’s a life story that hardly comports with the Journal’s promotion of the “I did it myself” canard. And it thumbs its nose at the paper’s knee-jerk denigration of government.

We must conclude, therefore, that the editors don’t peruse every story in search of subversive material to censor.

That would explain, too, why stories ripping the Journal’s editorial agenda pop up from time to time in the Sunday Wall Street Journal supplement and in the daily “Money & Markets” feature from Morningstar.

The editors let them pass.

For that, they deserve a tip of the old chapeau.

And for Cliff, hats off.

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