The terror program, considered within the framework of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory, serves to contradict society in many ways, functioning as a form of saturnalia to expose paradox. Though terror and terrorism have roots in antiquity, modern differentiated systems of communication and society’s oppositional/terrorist organizations have evolved into distinct forms, and terrorist events can trigger information processing in a variety of society’s subsystems, including but not limited to the political system. Charles Manson and his Family, considered alongside the groups Aum Shinrikyo and ISIS, serve to illustrate the ongoing terror program as manifest in modern society. Despite the best efforts of security analysts and related system observations, the evolution of these violent communications is highly unpredictable. Though terrorism that achieves quasi-state (‘successful insurgency’) or full state authority (a ‘terror regime’) may reduce complexity or distinctions among modern political, legal or other subsystems, the same destabilizing operations conducted by terrorist organizations that fail to achieve the authority of states may nonetheless influence the increasing complexity of modern society.