I certainly do not, rationally, (not sure I can speak fully for the "foul rag and bone shop of the heart") privilege Australian life and suffering over that of any other human's. You know what I THINK of nationalism (but you have pointed out, doubtlessly correctly, that I DISPLAY it, to my horror)....but there sure is a hell here (one that I am currently working with)...can I justify looking beyond the hell in my backyard to that far away?
You tell me. What is your moral compass? If it doesn't answer this then it's not good enough for you.
Mine answers it emphatically and clearly. If my efforts locally can alleviate greater amounts of suffering than my efforts remotely then it is the priority. If my efforts remotely can alleviate more suffering than my efforts locally then it is the priority. The greater need alone doesn't make the priority, maybe you can make more of a difference locally than you can remotely, maybe your own suffering for the local suffering you witness should be taken into account.
However I usually don't need to ignore one to tend to the other, but if that situation arises my moral compass gives me a clear direction.
Well, I can help in my backyard hell in other ways than via money, thank heavens (what a privilege that is!)...but I do feel more RESPONSIBLE for that hell. There's a Dickens character who focuses upon the far away hell and neglects her own children to do so (I think it's in Little Dorrit)...I don't want to be THAT stupid.
My moral compass doesn't make me do that. I don't tend to help remotely more than I help locally because I have greater local influence than remote.
You can prioritize first based on need, then on effect. You don't have the same effect remotely as you do locally. Giving money to a foreign charity is not as efficient as the local bum.
Do you think we have more RESPONSIBILITY for our own backyard, whoever is in it? Or should we respond to the worst hell?
Depends. Obviously you have more responsibility for your family than the neighbors and for your neighbors than the next town and so on and so forth.
Sometimes you have a social contract with local.
My moral compass does not say respond to the worst hell, it says to maximize the minimization of suffering to the best you are able.
I choose to try to alleviate suffering out of OZ via micro-credit...but I also give money to Ozzian hells.
Ain't nothing wrong with giving locally according to my compass.
I may well be violating my own principles that way...because nobody in Oz HAS to starve nor do without medical care.
Well, nobody's perfect. And you shouldn't fret too much about inconsistencies (futile really, you are already an Australian). But I do think it's worth knowing what your values are and whether your actions aren't perfectly consistent.
You can't be perfect, but you can try to know what ideal is and strive for it. I'm about to spend more money on lunch than I have to, and I'd be a better man eating less richly (nothing extravagant, my point is that I could eat rice and water now and feed another mouth) but I am not that man.
But what I will not do is lie to myself about who I am and what I do, and my moral compass tells me the more noble thing to do is sacrifice my suffering of not eating a great Brazilian meal so that more people can have a meal. I'm not going to do it today, but I also won't make up moral excuses for it. It's just a bit less noble, and I am an imperfect person (and I won't feel too guilty about it, my moral compass tells me to do the best I can and I can live with that not being the best that can be).