There’s a foreign policy intellectual blob that serves as the architects for empire. They’re at academic departments, quasi-academic think tanks, and places like the RAND Corporation–famously lampooned in Dr. Strangelove as the BLAND Corporation. These boring calculator men are part of why we have forever war. These people are part of a long tradition that sees citizens as a problem to be managed.
The national security state is particularly contemptuous of the people it ostensibly serves. Left, right, doesn’t matter. The technocrats rule, making life and death decisions for home and abroad. And if you don’t like it? Too bad. No one asked you anyway.
On this episode, host Gordon Katic speaks with Daniel Bessner, Associate Professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Relations at the University of Washington, author of Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual, and co-host of the podcast American Prestige. Daniel explains how the ideas and ideology of the technocratic national security state came to be, who carries them, and how the defense-intellectual complex keeps it standing from the media to quasi-academic think tanks to academic departments and beyond.
——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————
- Have a look at Daniel’s book Democracy in Exile and check out his other books and articles on his academic homepage, including his co-authored volume The Decisionist Imagination: Sovereignty, Social Science and Democracy in the 20th Century.
- Listen to his podcast, American Prestige, including the latest episode special “Auf Wiedersehen, Merkel.”
- Read more of his popular writing in The Nation, including “Can We Live Without Twitter,” The New Republic, including “The Case Against Humane War,” and Jacobin, including “Everything You Need to Know About What’s Happening in Afghanistan — An Interview with Derek Davison.”
- For some further reading on the national security state, dig into Top Secret America: The Rise of the American Security State by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin.
- For more from Daniel, visit his personal homepage.
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Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. Our assistant producer is Ren Bangert. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. David Moscrop wrote the show notes and is a research assistant.
This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us with a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.