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This is the literal English equivalent of the German proverb

Wenn es dem Esel zu wohl ist, geht er aufs Eis tanzen

The proverb commonly describes the behaviour of people who are comfortably well-off and perhaps somewhat complacent, so they seek a little excitement in their lives by doing reckless things.

The expression was used by some posters in German forums to characterize the government's decision in 2015 to allow large numbers of migrants to enter the country.

Currently I have seen the expression used a couple of times to explain the significantly increased popularity of the Green party in Bavaria, which is the richest region of Germany and traditionally very conservative.

I have not been able to find a good English equivalent. Does anyone know of a figurative expression for complacent people who indulge in foolish behaviour in order to spice up their lives a little?

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    We talk about people "having more money than sense" - which I suppose is related, but not quite the same thing. – WS2 Oct 14 '18 at 7:37
  • "while the cat's away, the mice will play" is similar, but perhaps not exactly the same. – RaceYouAnytime Oct 14 '18 at 7:37
  • I've seen a lot of film noir exchanges where someone repeats one or another variation of, "When a guy gets too comfortable, he gets careless." – Sven Yargs Oct 14 '18 at 8:08
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    @Kate Bunting. You are right that ass is relatively uncommon in modern usage. I used it partly because it is cognate with the German word, and partly (shameful I know) because I thought it may garner more views than donkey. Its double meaning makes me think that the expression used about loquacious people should be: She can talk the hind legs off an ass. – Shoe Oct 14 '18 at 8:36
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    "(rich) fools rush in where angels fear to tread"? – Mari-Lou A Oct 14 '18 at 8:56

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