Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy, then remove to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
Add the butter to the pot with the bacon grease. Once melted add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook and stir for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables have softened slightly and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic in the last 30 seconds or so.
Sprinkle the flour over the softened veggies, then stir well to coat. Cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add the chicken broth gradually while stirring. Add the corn kernels, potatoes, thyme, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork-tender but still holding their shape, about 15-20 minutes.
At this point, you can remove 2-3 cups of the soup and blend in a blender if you prefer a thicker chowder, but this step is optional.
Add the cream and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and serve with the crispy bacon and green onions sprinkled over the top.