Updates on a very strange story. (Political theorist still on the lam? Or just a victim of cyberstalking? WTF?)

A month ago, I blogged the very strange story of Eric Kofmel, a grad student political theorist who, according to news reports, published an edited volume while on the lam from Interpol, accused of defrauding a bunch of people out of money. (As noted at the bottom, he denies the charges. This is a very, very odd story. I don’t want to prejudge it either way.)

Kofmel just sent a pair of e-mails to a list of which I’m a member. He now has a blog about something called “political theology.” Among other things, the sidebar of that blog announces that he has a “forthcoming monograph” entitled — no shit — Me Against Mediocrity.

And he posted an announcement for this book. It’s called “Anti-Democratic Thought.” The sales pitch is very strange: he gave himself a back-cover blurb.* In relevant part:

Back cover description:

From a historical and cross-cultural perspective it cannot be denied
that most democracies failed. Only western democracies for a short
while – from the fall of Soviet communism to the rise of radical Islam
– believed themselves to be invincible. It has therefore become
necessary to think about political alternatives once more and to study
threats to democracy from within and without as well as common modes
of failure of democracy across times and cultures.

This book marks the start of a daring new debate and re-introduces
anti-democratic thought and practice to the academic discourse and
into the syllabus.

It wishes to offer a serious discussion of anti-democratic thought,
rather than an apology of democracy.

‘I am the proponent of a new engagement with anti-democratic thought.
This book outlines a positive agenda for the future.’ – Erich Kofmel
(Editor)

He also describes the book as “long-awaited.” (Dude, other people are supposed to describe your books this way.)

Kofmel also has a personal web page/blog. On it, he defends himself, saying that the allegations of fraud are false and are the result of cyberstalkers. His publisher has also issued a statement.

The only name I recognize from the list of the contributors to the new book is the political/legal philosopher Thom Brooks. I’m not familiar with his work directly (he seems to mostly be doing punishment theory… although… also… Hegel! My beloved Hegel!), but I get the sense it’s good, and his blog certainly is.

Does anyone want to share the story here? What in rainbow-colored blazes is going on?

I have not contacted anyone involved, because a) I’m too lazy and don’t care that much, and b) it’s not like I’m some kind of journalist. But, of course, anyone who cares is free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.


* I’m waiting for the day when someone has his or her mom supply the back-cover blurb. Would that be more or less pitiful than doing it yourself?

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7 Responses to “Updates on a very strange story. (Political theorist still on the lam? Or just a victim of cyberstalking? WTF?)”

  1. Victims of Erich Kofmel Says:

    Some further reading….. (see website for links to all of these articles)

    Erich Kofmel / SCIS in the press

    The Evening Standard Newspaper, January 31 2006

    The Observer Newspaper, January 22 2006

    Times Higher Education, 14th Augus 2008

    The Argus Newspaper, 29th August 2008

    The Argus Newspaper, 11 September 2008 (PDF Reprint)

    The Argus Newspaper; 13th September 2008 (PDF Reprint)

    The Badger Newspaper, October 6th 2008

    20minuten (German – the leading Swiss daily), 12th December 2008 (PDF reprint)

    The Argus Newspaper, 16th December 2008

    The Badger Newspaper, 19th January 2009

    The Argus Newspaper, 21st February 2009 (PDF Reprint)

  2. Paul Gowder Says:

    Ok, victims group, I’ll bite. Kofmel, of course, denies everything and claims to be a victim of a cyberstalking campaign by your group. Can you provide some evidence that he’s actually presently wanted by the police?

    I ask because the following facts don’t add up. According to all these news reports and your website, he’s on the run from the police of multiple countries in Europe. These are not incompetent police departments. Yet Mr. Kofmel’s a high-profile guy: he runs a couple of blogs, he’s putting out multiple books and maintaining contact with a publisher to do so, he’s sending things out to e-mail lists. I can’t help but think that if I had the resources of one of those police departments at my disposal, and I had a suspect who did all those things, I’d have the guy in gaol faster than you can say “what is the European equivalent of a subpoena for the phone and email records of some ISPs and publishers, anyway?”

  3. ben wolfson Says:

    * I’m waiting for the day when someone has his or her mom supply the back-cover blurb. Would that be more or less pitiful than doing it yourself?

    Is it in The Last Novel that the exchange between Schopenhauer and his mother is recounted? (His mother was also an author, a novelist, much more successful in terms of sales than her son; he claimed that his books would still be available in a hundred (or something) years, and she said, “yes, the entire first printing”.)

  4. Paul Gowder Says:

    Ow. That explains Schopenhauer’s views on women rather well, doesn’t it?

  5. Uncommon Priors » Updates on a very strange story. (Political … | EducatorsArea.Com Says:

    [...] The rest is here: Uncommon Priors » Updates on a very strange story. (Political … [...]

  6. Victims of Erich Kofmel Says:

    I have sent an email, not sure if its the correct address, but there was no response. If you need further info we would be happy to oblige.

    Just for the record, the fraudster is called Erich Kofmel not Eric Kofmel as you have spelling him. Your point is, however, an important one, because Mr. Kofmel used the false identities: Eric Kofmel, Eric Kofmehl, Eric Kofmehl. All changed his own name(s) by a single letter.

    Kofmel had learned this trick of miss-spelling through the deliberate concealment of the name of his previous insolvent company – spelling “Gemeindebüro Treuhand AG” as “Gemeinebüro Treuhand AG” thus concealing his past as a repeated bankrupt. This miss-spelling is highly significant because it was done in the identical manner to the property rental frauds for which Kofmel was arrested in May 2008 (and is now wanted by the police for) – by omitting a single letter. The reason for both of those miss-spellings is that at the times the crimes were being committed, a google search for the miss-spelling did not reveal the information already about Mr. Kofmel in the public domain. (fortunately google will now rapidly show lead you to the correct information whichever spelling you use).

    Get in touch if you need more info or visit the info page (including source material for the above) at http://erichkofmelinfo.googlepages.com/?ref=UP2

  7. Victims of Erich Says:

    Thought you might be interested that Kofmel’s fortcoming book has been scrapped by his publish.

    Oh, and as for his “cyberstalking defence” you can read Wikipedia founder Larry Sanger had to say about that at http://erichkofmelinfo.googlepages.com/?ref=UP2 !

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