“On public display Tuesday in the Texas Senate chamber was a reminder of the main reason humans form governments. It is, scholars tell us, primarily for the pleasure of convening committee hearings at which we can watch well-heeled witnesses squirm.

Tuesday’s topic was the recent frigid front that caused rolling blackouts in Austin and elsewhere. Two Senate committees convened a joint hearing about what happened when it got chilly and the energy industry had trouble with the whole power-to-the-people thing.”