Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

EP35: The Bland Corporation (ft. Daniel Bessner)

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.


—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Also, we have a new YouTube channel featuring extended interviews with our guests. More to come! So subscribe today. 

If you’d like to write to us, email or tweet Gordon directly. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to our show wherever you get your podcasts.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on


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.

Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop, and our marketing was done by Ian Sowden.

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.

← Older
Newer →