Do not breed a dog with genetic defect.
I think you look at the whole dog. There are many dogs that have their ears "helped" to stand, and go on to have successful show careers. As a breeder, when talking conformation, the successful show career indicates that the dog should be bred. Serious breeders do not waste money and time showing dogs of poor character, or dogs that have structural problems that would make breeding them wrong. The point of conformation competition is to pass on the best genes.
I had a dog that a breeder who had been in the game for half a century at that point, tell me to put them up and I listened to her. At 3 months old, I let her glue and tape them. They went up and stayed up. I saw his sister years later at their breeders and hers never did go up.
So a softness in the structure of the ear is apparent in that line. And my guess it is in a lot of the American show line lines.
The question becomes, if the ears are "helped" to stand, should the dog be bred or not?
And then you look at the rest of the dog. What is it about him that you gain by breeding him. Ears are big because people want a dog that appears confident and alert. But it is still a aesthetic quality. It is a disqualifying fault. But there are no perfect dogs. I think you weigh each fault in an order of severity, but also in an area importance. A dog that shrinks from the judge will be marked lower in the class, and if the only dog that otherwise merits a first place ribbon, might have a judge withhold the first place, because temperament is highest on that list, but the dog is not disqualified until he bites the judge.
Frankly, I would rather breed a dog with a down ear, than a dog that shrinks from the judge.
I know in your mind neither dog should be bred. But I see it a little different. If these dogs are brothers, than yes, neither should be bred. But for me it is the temperament issue that sways that line. We don't like to see breeders with a lot of dogs. But we want them to breed their own lines, which means holding dogs back and letting them grow out. It also means taking dogs back if necessary. And maybe keeping retired dogs because how else can you see how your dogs develop and age. So there ya go, you have a number of dogs.
You aren't going to keep a number of puppies out of each litter in case several do not pan out, for one reason or another. You are going to put your eggs in one basket, and hope for the best. I lost Mufasa (my masterpiece) to bloat. He was out of an imported bitch whose sire was a double world seiger, his sire was another import that went back to another seiger, sire to the double world sieger -- nicely line bred. I bred my boy twice to each of two bitches, for a total of 28 puppies. Out of them I kept Quinnie out of Bear and Ramona out of Karma. The rest when to new homes. The sister of Mufasa that I kept, reached 6 years old, baren. With Moofie dead, I will totally lose that line, which I have received rave reviews on. Karma and Bear are Jenna/Gispo progeny. Jenna is an Arwen/Dubya, and Gispo is a German import half-brother to my Odessa(German import above), his sire double world sieger, dam world siegerin.
Quinnie came down with oral cancer and I lost her at 3.5 years. Ramona is 3.5 years now, and has not yet conceived. I have some time. I used my stud dog, Kojak with a litter-sister of hers that I do not own and have one of those puppies, Kaiah. Both Ramona and Kaiah are everything I would want in structure and character. But if one of them had an ear down, I don't now that I would sell or spay her for that. I know what my dogs throw, I know ears are not a problem. Rushie, the dog whose sister's ears did not go up, I was not the breeder, I did breed him to Babs once and kept two puppies, who were not what I wanted to produce. Both had ears stand on their own, both passed away last year at 10 years old. Neither were ever bred.
I do have a couple of dogs out there with one ear down. Quincy, and Oscar, out of over 110 dogs. I do not know if they tried to get Quincy's to stand, but I owned Oscar for three years and never tried. I think they would have if I had tried. I did not keep the boy because he was closely related to everything I had, and the right family presented itself and he now has a wonderful life being the center of attention and not one of my 22. I rehomed six 10 month to 3 year old dogs, and a 7 year old bitch, to get down to 15 and then I lost 5, rehomed Lassie (Moofie's sister) last year to get down to 12, with the addition of the puppies, Tinny, Uzzi and Kaiah.
I labor through this to show that, it isn't all cut and dried. If Ramona comes up dry, then that leaves Kaiah as the last of my Odessa line that produced so well. If she turns out to have some minor aesthetic issue, that she may pass on and she may not, I don't know. You don't always want to throw away the baby with the bathwater. And if you stop breeding every dog who has a minor fault, then shouldn't you not breed any dog that has ever produced a major fault. And any dog that is a sibling to a dog with a major fault? Pretty soon, you are throwing out dogs that are really good dogs and you will no longer have any breedable dogs, or your gene pool will be so slight that it will implode upon itself. Whether I breed or not will not make a difference, but if everyone who breeds culls (removes from their breeding prospects) every dog that has a fault, produced a fault, or is related to a dog with a fault, then we will no longer have a breed.