For today’s constitutional monarchs know the game is up: In a perfectly reasonable world, they would not exist. If we started from scratch, we would not choose a hereditary selected aristocrat from a randomly selected family as head of state in a modern, rights-based democracy. But we do, in 36 countries, including Canada.

You may notice that these countries are not doing too badly. In fact, there’s an even larger paradox here: When you look at modern monarchies, such as Sweden, Spain, Japan or the Netherlands, you see a lot more democracy taking place than you do in some republics.

As the Dutch historian Wim Roobol notes in his paper “Twilight of the European Monarchy,” the main reason why the steady 300-year decline in proportion of monarchies has not reached zero is because countries like Canada are sometimes more democratic than some republics, and republics are capable of being more authoritarian than any modern monarchy. Remember, all the Arab dictatorships that saw democratic uprisings last year were republics.