Unknown to most of us, wild almonds are poisonous. They have a compound called amygdalin, which has a bitter taste and breaks down into cyanide in our body. About 50 such almonds would constitute a deadly dose.
However, almonds are safe today, thanks to centuries of selective breeding. Almond farmers selectively bred trees that lacked the gene to produce amygdalin to create the sweet almonds that we find in supermarket shelves today.
Most of us have parts of us that are beneficial and other parts that are toxic, and so does our culture. Our culture evolves continuously, and just like farmers, we ought to cultivate its beneficial parts and discard its toxins.
I admire Scott Adams for his perspectives on creativity, but I find some of his politics toxic. I have reread his short post on writing several times, even as I steer clear of his political posts.
What cancel culture gets wrong is to expect that every part of an admirable person needs to be pristine, as seen from the lens of present day ethos. By that measure, one would even have to cancel the Buddha or Lao-Tse for something ‘toxic’ they said two-thousand years back.
Besides, we would have discarded every wild almond and never have gotten to the delicacy we cherish today.