Imagine someone who accomplishes a great feat, like making the trains run on time, but is otherwise a malevolent force. Do their singular achievements redeem their villainy? What if they did two good things?

It’s important to consider whether allying with such an individual may ultimately betray your principles. The phrase “he made the trains run on time” is often an erroneously used to describe Benito Mussolini, whose legacy speaks for itself. As we see political alliances of convenience being made in the run up to the 2024 Presidential election, this is a perfect opportunity to explore why it’s critical to resist the temptation to collaborate with those who fundamentally oppose your beliefs.

When faced with this dilemma, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of joining forces with such an individual. While “making the trains run on time” might seem like an appealing accomplishment, it pales in comparison to the damage inflicted by their other actions. In many cases, the good they achieve is vastly overshadowed by the harm they cause. By aligning yourself with someone who violates your principles, you are effectively endorsing their nefarious behavior.

This compromise can ultimately diminish your credibility and the impact of your cause. As a leader, you should uphold your values and choose your allies carefully. By collaborating with someone who opposes your principles, you risk tarnishing your reputation and damaging the trust others have placed in you. The consequences of such a betrayal can be far-reaching and may prevent you from achieving your true goals.

Moreover, by allying with someone who stands against your beliefs, you effectively become complicit in their actions. When you support someone who has caused immense suffering, you’re indirectly contributing to their misdeeds. This complicity can have disastrous consequences, not only for your own moral compass but also for the people and causes you care about.

It’s also crucial to consider the message you send to others when you align yourself with a person who has acted immorally. Such an alliance could be perceived as endorsing their behavior, potentially leading others to follow suit. This can create a domino effect, causing further damage to your cause and the principles you hold dear.

To avoid betraying your principles, it’s vital to remain vigilant and evaluate potential allies based on their values and actions. Seek out those who share your vision and work together to bring about meaningful change. By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain your integrity and have a positive impact on the world around you.

The myth of Mussolini’s punctual trains lives on, albeit with a different slant: rather than serving as a fictitious symbol of the benefits of fascism, it is now offered as a sardonic example that something good can result even from the worst of circumstances. As Montagu and Darling wrote:

Mussolini may have done many brutal and tyrannical things; he may have destroyed human freedom in Italy; he may have murdered and tortured citizens whose only crime was to oppose Mussolini; but ‘one had to admit’ one thing about the Dictator: he ‘made the trains run on time.’

No, thanks. I’d rather walk.

In conclusion, while the phrase “he made the trains run on time” may be used to excuse the actions of an otherwise harmful person, it’s important to recognize that aligning with someone who opposes your principles is a betrayal of your values. Resist the temptation to join forces with those whose actions stand in stark contrast to your beliefs. Instead, choose allies who share your vision and work together to create a brighter future. Remember, the ultimate goal is to uphold your principles and enact meaningful change, rather than being derailed by the allure of short-term gains.


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