Miviso, I do for sure agree that Alex’s approach to his atrocities is childlike and adventurous, but Alex actually does know right and wrong. It’s letting him off the hook too easily to think he can’t distinguish. He even says as much, that he knows why people do good, he recognizes it’s important to do good, but he says he prefers to do what is bad. Dr Brodsky even sums up this attitude with “I see what is right and approve but do what is wrong.”
In chap. 21 he does realize his attitude was based off of immaturity and the machine-like nature of youth and its wildness, but Alex definitely knows what good and bad are. He operates below the level of real choice in his bad state because he was not taught how to create or build, he was given no creative outlet, he did not comprehend the idea of thinking for himself, but he knew what bad and good were, and he knew he was bad, and he knew that he was hurting people and he still kept at it. He has zero remorse for anyone from start to finish. He definitely knows he hurt others. So it is more out of selfishness than childishness that he was hurting others. It was out of premeditated action and the early path of badness he stuck to that he raped people.
To call his actions childlike out of lack of understanding what bad and good is becomes problematic because Alex knew damn well that raping people is bad but he still kept at it. He was bad as a result of a mechanic environment, his innocence was tarnished and sullied by the coldness of the environment, but he knew exactly what he was doing was bad. he always knew he was bad. To say he couldn’t tell is slightly off because he never for a second doubted that what he was doing was wrong. He chalks it up to being young, but he never claims he couldn’t distinguish between good and bad. Keep in mind too that Alex is a highly unreliable narrator and though his narration smacks of innocence in parts and childishness, he is not to be interpreted as ever innocent. To say he was made dirty by others isn’t exactly true either since he also was inherently bad, Anthony burgess was a big believer in original sin, and Alex definitely harbored inherent sin. The case that Alex and Burgess both also make is that youthfulness is inherently sinful, and that we are all full of original sin, which compels us towards badness.