A recent Korea Times editorial advised American-retail store Costco to recall the old saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." Sage advice, sure, but its expiration date has come and gone. That old saying needs to be updated as, “Rome has come to you.”
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" allegedly goes back to ancient Rome when St. Augustine, on a visit, was advised by the bishop of Milan: "When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the Church where you are." It has been shortened to: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
That is practical wisdom for those who enjoy staying out of jail or avoiding an embarrassing faux pas. But should one "do as the Romans do" or turn a blind eye when the locals engage in barbarism, oppression, or just plain old stupidity? Literally doing as the Romans did could have also meant engaging in pedophilia, slavery, rape, and a host of other barbaric things that were legal or condoned in ancient Rome.