Emerson even brought into being the "intellectual Declaration of Independence" according to Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
I will offer one such person, even though there are many, who fits the bill of saying radical things about civilization:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown."(A Study of History, by Arnold J. Toynbee). In Toynbee's mind, what was it that causes that widespread process of the suicide of civilizations?
The fellows of his "homeland" put it like this:
"In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces."(Encyclopedia Britannica, emphasis added). Have you read about any past world wars associated with that trinity ... or somilar talk of a possible coming war?
That trinity of "nationalism," "militarism" and "a tyrannical despotic minority" is the essence of a unification of sycophants, which I warned about in a recent post (Beware of the Sycophant Epidemic).
In the series Etiology of Social Dementia, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and Agnotology: The Surge, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 a lot of the symptoms of "our brains on propaganda" were at issue.
It is clear that the demolition of the sound mind of a culture, a civilization, is something that is perpetual (Stockholm Syndrome On Steroids, 2).
A classic example for our time was presented in "Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 2" discussing the documentary about Anwar Congo and a nation that had descended into a sycophantic group.
Reality ... it's not just for happiness anymore.