"if we all accept that, then we have to allow that a competent pragmatism might look very different from National Socialism."
Exactly, but Mises proved long ago that central planning is always inept. It can never be practical to everyone, it can only be practical to the one making the decision, who is operating without the necessary information. No one can have all the necessary information because it is always changing and it is tied up in all of the various individuals in the society. This is Hayek's argument in The Use of Knowledge in Society. (I'm actually NOT that big a fan of Hayek's, I've just been reading him lately for a conference...)
"It has always been understood that applying natural law leads toward a harmonious and prosperous society. That is to say, natural law is pragmatic."
Agreed, but the argument presented to me had the direction of causality reversed. It does not flow both ways in the short run. It might in the long run, if change to the law is slow and difficult.
The law in Romans 2 I will also acknowledge. But this law DOES NOT include the Christian Ethic. The Christian Ethic of caring for the least of these is peculiar and belongs only to the believer.
Indeed, the various permutations of Natural Law systems by the academy often reject caring for the least of these as absurd.
Objectivism in particular rejects concern for the poor. Since I move in those circles a great deal, I must constantly be reminded of the peculiarity of the calling, and how absurd it appears to worldly wisdom.
I believe that a natural spontaneous order can evolve which reflects human nature and relies on natural rights. This is a slow and gradual process, which conservatives often claim as their own through tradition. While there is an element of truth to this, I deny tradition for tradition sake. I recognize the scientific process which has handed us our tradition, and the direction in which it ultimately points. It does not include concern for the poor.
Meanwhile I recognize the sovereignty of God, and a peculiar eschatology which calls for the ultimate end to this earth, and the recognition of the One True Lawgiver. He called me, I responded. He gave me an example and an ethic to follow, regardless what other people might do. He demonstrated a rejection of political mechanisms for achieving His ends. I believe I am to imitate Him in this, too.