There are revolutionaries fighting gradualists over just about every issue.
For instance, in prehistory some say there was a cognitive revolution about 40,000 years ago. From about that time there was quite a bit more art (cave paintings, ornaments), more trade (people figuring out how to obtain distant things), new inventions (technologies such as the bow and arrow, the spear thrower), and the colonization of new areas.
Others say that there was a longer, more gradual expansion of human cognitive ability.
I cannot claim to know why cognitive ability jumped ahead (or gradually increased) at that time. Perhaps it was something to do with the challenge of colonizing new areas. But it does sound like the very beginnings of rationalization. If so, then rationalization is not just a modern phenomenon, nor even a pre-modern one, but also a prehistoric process.