If the town's streets are crooked, then it's wrong to walk in straight lines.

This is a literal translation of an Arabic expression. It subtly encourages people to follow suit when immoral behavior has become the norm in their communities. Is there an English expression that resembles or matches this one? If not, does my translation convey the meaning intended ?

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    Something like "jumping on the bandwagon"? – Cardinal Nov 3 '18 at 23:29
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    There are English expressions (When in Rome, do as the Romans do and Go with the flow that encourage people to copy local customs and practices. But they don't imply immoral behaviour - and I would not have assumed that your example did either. – Ronald Sole Nov 4 '18 at 0:15
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    Just a side remark, English proverbs and aphormisms would cast "it is wrong to walk" as an imperative, "don't walk". When the town's streets are crooked, don't walk in a straight line. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Nov 4 '18 at 12:51

I dont' think there are any idioms that quite express this idea.

As noted in a comment, "When in Rome (do as the Romans do)" is advice to follow local customs and traditions.

I wouldn't normally eat fish raw, but when I visited Japan I saw lots of sushi restaurants. So I thought "When in Rome..." and ate out at the sushi restaurant.

However similar proverbs caution against copying other people's bad behaviour: "Don't jump on the bandwagon!", "Two wrongs don't make a right".

The translation is fine but the meaning of the proverb would be rather surprising to many English speakers, so it would need to be explained.


I'm going to offer something that sounds like a proverb :)

Only a fool goes straight when the road is crooked.

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