This. It’s entirely reasonable to look back at our past as a species and say “Geez, we were some real assholes.” Geez, the Egyptians were assholes. Geez, Athenian democracy was kinda asshole. Geez, the Roman Empire was a bunch of assholes. Geez, the Mongols? Fucking assholes. Geez, life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, short, and full of assholes.
We were assholes. We’re still assholes, but hopefully less so: isn’t that how we define civilization?
Orwell, Jefferson, Lincoln, Clinton…all products of their time, and their times were all kinda assholish. I am a product of my time, and however much I believe in and support the dignity and worth of all people, I’m kind of an asshole. Particularly to future generations.
I think that means giving a lot of historical figures a pass on things that we currently judge to be assholish.
But that’s no help to the issue at hand, sorry. Where the tipping point actually lies, I have no idea. I don’t really blame Orson Scott Card for his assholery; I do truly believe he is a product of his time and place. I am able to appreciate (some of) his work on its own merits, and I certainly don’t excuse his asshole beliefs. I do think he should be less of an asshole…but I don’t think he’s a cultural outlier yet.